Fire Service Bosses Told To 'Sort It Out'Civil Defence
The Minister of Internal Affairs, Jack Elder, says the Fire Service Commission is well aware of his views on achieving a settlement in the long-running dispute with the Professional Fire Fighters' Union.
Mr Elder said he made it clear to the commission at a meeting earlier this week that reported differences with the Chief Executive of the Fire Service had to be sorted out. He also had further discussions with the Chairman, Roger Estall, yesterday while visiting volunteer firefighters in the Bay Waikato Region.
"I am as concerned as anyone to see an agreement concluded but not 'peace at any price'," Mr Elder said.
Mr Elder said while Mr Estall is being portrayed as the obstacle to a settlement there are two other members of the Commission who have to satisfy themselves that statutory obligations have been met.
Mr Elder said his main concern is that any settlement will enable the Commission to achieve its objective of saving lives and reducing the incidence of fire by making better use of its resources.
Mr Elder says any settlement must consider the 8000 volunteers who make up the bulk of the country's firefighters.
"They are an integral part of the Fire Service and any outcome needs to protect their interests as well," Mr Elder said.