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Fire Service Reputation Tarnished By Management


9 February 2001

For immediate release


New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters, has welcomed the long awaited report into the “unusual” management practices within the New Zealand Fire Service and regrets the inactivity by those who should have acted so much quicker to minimise the fallout.

“This report, arising from a review conducted by Helen Cull QC of those procedures and other irregularities within the Fire Service, is the culmination of a great deal of work within my office to ensure an honest and dedicated employee did not have her excellent employment record tarnished through the shabby practices of her supervisors.

We are fortunate to have such an excellent and dedicated Fire Service, which serves our communities exceedingly well and every effort must be made to retain its strength and its integrity across all levels of the service,” Mr Peters said.

“That two senior officers of the service, around which the review primarily revolved, have now left the service, should serve to encourage others to “blow the whistle” on inappropriate behaviour whenever experienced within the workplace,” Mr Peters suggested.

“It is deeply regretted however, that the employee concerned, Anita Garratt, ultimately became a casualty of the drawn out process, which could have been avoided had the Minister then responsible, Mark Burton, acted in a more decisive and timely manner, when I first raised these matters with him,” said Mr Peters.

“Having conceded that the treatment of Mrs Garratt was not appropriate, the Fire Service and George Hawkins, the Minister now responsible for the Fire Service, should immediately review the circumstances under which Mrs Garratt felt compelled to resign, and offer her full compensation and reinstatement to her former position,” suggested Mr Peters.

“There remain some unresolved issues surrounding management practices and style within the Fire Service, and I intend to continue to raise these matters along with any others I become aware of to ensure fairness and transparency of process for all employees within the service, and taxpayers generally,” concluded Mr Peters.


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