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Fire Service Agreement Settled

The Minister of Internal Affairs, George Hawkins, today congratulated the Fire Service on settling the firefighters' employment agreement. The last agreement between the Fire Service and the Firefighters' Union was concluded in December 1992.

"From the word go this government has emphasised to the parties that our top priority for the Fire Service was a settlement of the agreement," said Mr Hawkins.

"For too many years the previous government was content to let this dispute smoulder but after 18 months of encouragement we are pleased that the parties have been able to overcome their differences in achieving this agreement. Unlike the National Government, we listened."

Mr Hawkins said that while responsibility for resolving the dispute rested with the Fire Service and the Union, the government did everything it could to assist the parties to reach an agreement.

"The Government's "open-door" policy, including regular meetings with the Union and with the Chair of the Fire Service Commission, has helped to create a more positive environment between the parties" said Mr Hawkins.

"Now that the dispute has been settled, Fire Service management and staff will be able to increase their focus on providing all New Zealanders with the most effective and efficient fire service possible. I will continue to work with the Fire Service Commission to assist it to achieve this goal" Mr Hawkins said.

Ends

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