Elder Says Peters Misinformed Over Fire Service Changes

  • Jack Elder
Civil Defence

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Jack Elder, says scaremongering by the Leader of New Zealand First and MP for Tauranga, Winston Peters, about changes to the local fire service in Tauranga and Mt Maunganui is totally unjustified and appears to be based on misinformation

"Mr Peters appears to have relied on Fire Service employees with an industrial relations agenda as the source for his concerns," Mr Elder said.

"The Fire Service Commission has made quite clear to Bay of Plenty residents and to local government leaders it fully understands the changing demographics in Tauranga and the Western Bay.

"The Fire Service is in fact increasing by 50 per cent its overall coverage in Tauranga with the opening of a new fire station at Greerton. Furthermore, to reflect its recognition that fires develop more quickly these days, it has reduced its target response times from eight minutes in 85 per cent of fires to seven minutes in 90 per cent.

"The Commission will also be better positioning its Mt Maunganui Station."

Mr Elder said he cannot understand why Winston Peters now wants to halt these improvements in protecting the Tauranga community.

"When Mr Peters was in Government he appeared to well understand the need to modernise the Fire Service to save lives," Mr Elder said.