Devalued Firefighters

Some career firefighters are the lowest paid employees in FENZ. The recruits and first level of firefighter are on the lowest wage band across all of FENZ’s roles. Even the lowest level administration function’s pay band is higher than the lower career firefighter ranks.

Career firefighters and other NZPFU members have not had a pay increase since 1 July 2020.

Currently the rank of firefighter is barely scraping in the minimum wage for base wages and is not being paid the NZ living wage (1 April 2022).

NZ career Firefighters and Officers are paid at least 40% less than their Australian counterparts but FENZ administration and HQ roles are paid on a par with their Australian equivalents. Some FENZ executive management positions are paid more than their Australian counterparts!

FENZ has made the outrageous claim that FENZ career firefighting rates are comparative to the Department of Conservation firefighters. FENZ sets the DOC contract rate. When firefighting DOC firefighters are paid a $46.80/hr allowance and those with incident command and control responsibilities are paid a $90.41/hr. Those payments are in addition to their usual wages for non-firefighting work. By comparison, FENZ firefighters are paid between $22.58 and $32.29 an hour as their base wages and Senior Station Officers are paid $42.57 an hour. FENZ has offered to increase the Senior Station Officer hourly rate to $43.21.

FENZ emergency 111 call centre staff are paid significantly less than other emergency call centre counterparts. As a result, FENZ is struggling to attract quality recruits and to hold onto trained and experienced staff. Because FENZ’s salaries are so low, qualified and experienced dispatchers resign to go to other emergency call centres to access better wages and conditions.

Volunteer Support Officers are underpaid. Under a restructure they were expected to increase their workload by adding additional stations for them to support. They are being paid at least $20,000 less than those that were supporting those stations before the restructure.

Experienced and qualified community resilience and risk reduction workers were stripped of the benefit of their years of service under a recent restructure.