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Fire Service Clean Out Continues - Peters

New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters today expressed his concern at the willingness of the New Zealand Fire Service Commission to play politics, rather than sticking to their knitting and ensuring the best fire service possible is provided and maintained for the benefit of New Zealanders.

Mr Peters was commenting on the departure of the Fire Service National Commander Mr Ken Harper, who is reported to have left his position, and New Zealand, after an inquiry into ‘inappropriate’ spending.

“The allegations which I made about management activity by several senior managers within the fire service one year ago, has now seen three individuals depart the service prematurely so far, and if the Fire Service Commission had been less concerned with pleasing their political masters in Government and more determined to stamp out wrong doing in the fire service, even more individuals would have been removed from office,” said Mr Peters.

“I don’t know why the fire service has to go to such lengths as stating that the resulting departures have nothing to do with my original allegations. They do; action would not now be happening if those questions were not asked, and their denial merely evidences their duplicity and insecurity and does the service no credit at all.

I urge the fire service to continue their purge of ‘inappropriate’ activity by any senior staff and to leave no stone unturned in that pursuit. There are still a number of matters yet to be dealt with in finality from the extensive list of issues which I raised with the then Minister of Internal Affairs, Mark Burton, and I am hopeful his successor, George Hawkins, will show more tenacity and willingness to carry out his obligations on behalf of taxpayers. New Zealand has a fine fire service and inappropriate behavior is putting this in jeopardy,” concluded Mr Peters.


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