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Fighting firefighters hand in resignation

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An Official Information Act request to Fire and Emergency New Zealand has revealed that two firefighters resigned following a brawl at Cape Palliser in October 2020.

The Wairarapa Times-Age reported at the time that firefighters had “brawled” at a rural Wairarapa callout and were being investigated by Fire and Emergency New Zealand [FENZ].

The fight took place over the weekend of October 17, 2020.

The Wairarapa Times-Age became aware of the alleged altercation at Cape Palliser when two separate members of the public reported the fight.

The brawl allegedly was between members of the Wairarapa Rural Fire Unit, and not involving members of the public.

FENZ regional manager Bruce Stubbs confirmed FENZ was “looking into a situation that has been brought to our attention in the Wairarapa as a matter of urgency”.

However, Stubbs stated that “Fire and Emergency can’t discuss the details of individual matters”.

FENZ said in its OIA response that three firefighters were involved in the incident, and two subsequently chose to resign.

It said the incident related to a personal matter.

“Two of the firefighters involved were found to be in breach of Fire and Emergency’s code of behaviour.

“The third firefighter was found to be not at fault.”

FENZ chose to withhold any further information about the incident to protect the people in question.

It said a full investigation was not undertaken into the incident.

“Two investigation outcome letters were sent as part of the disciplinary process.”

FENZ said it chose to withhold the letters, again to protect the privacy of the people in question.

A range of initiatives were in place to address 33 review recommendations from retired Judge Coral Shaw’s 2019 Independent Review of FENZ’s workplace policies, procedures, and practices to address bullying and harassment.


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