New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union


Welcome to the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union.

The NZPFU is a key partner with the Fire Service in delivering the Fire Service's strategic vision of reducing the incidence and consequence of fire and to provide a professional response to other emergencies.

NZPFU representatives are based on all career fire stations. There are also 19 Union Locals in the major metropolitan and principal centres where career firefighters are employed.

Aug 22 2014

NTM 10/2014

NTM 10/2014

Christchurch Bravery Awards

On Thursday 14th August Derek Best and I had the privilege of attending the reception held in for the Recipients of the Bravery Awards.

It was an honour to be there to share this time with the Firefighters and their Families.

The Union congratulates all those who received the medals.  They exemplify the role of all Firefighters in New Zealand, who continue to strive to achieve results, under extreme and adverse conditions.

We also extend our thanks to the New Zealand Fire Service for providing the reception in honour of this group.

Thank you for the invitation.  This was a function we were delighted to attend.

Peter Nicolle
President NZPFU

Matters being discussed with Fire Service

As well as the usual ongoing matters, the following particular issues are of interest and significance.

  • Payment problems subsequent to the 1 July increase:
    These particularly related to the grand-fathered group and even more particularly, Q.F.F.  For the most part, these have been resolved satisfactorily.

  • Problems with P.P.E. – B.A, Helmets, Wet Weather Gear:
    There is no quick fix. Clearly the roll-outs were inadequate and faulty.  The lesson (once again) is that any roll-out of anything must be much better done.

  • Relieving – and associated issues:
    The introduction of the new relievers is still some way away and it is likely that there will be a trial/pilot exercise before any wider introduction occurs.
    A particular issue raised is the interim over-staffing that occurs and how that is dealt with.
    The Union’s position on a 5th person on an appliance with regard to P.P.E. is very clear – all members riding on an appliance must be fully provided with P.P.E.

  • Medical Responses and particularly Training:
    The Fire Service has accepted that there has been a very significant workload in a number of localities (e.g. Auckland) and the Union is pressing for answers.

  • Exposures Project (Cancer):
    Work is progressing and the awareness video has been distributed.

  • Vision 2020 Meetings:
    The information from these meetings is presently being assembled.

  • Job Sizing:
    Examples are being monitored.

  • Health & Safety:
    This includes Accident Investigations and the forthcoming changes to the Health & Safety legislation.

SMS - Home Address 

As part of the project to improve/update information to enable contact in the case of an emergency, SMS is now being used to implement/update home addresses.

As with the emergency contact/next of kin information, the implementation/update will be the responsibility of the individual on a voluntary basis – however, the Union does encourage members to provide accurate information asap.

National Risk Resource Model 

Joint message from NRFA, NZFS, NZPFU and UFBA attached.

Documents: (Click to view)

    National-Risk-Resource-Model-20-August PDF icon

    National-Risk-Resource-Model-20-August.pdf | pdf | 152 KB | Last Changed: 22/08/2014 1:03pm

Jul 10 2014

Firefighters Scholarship 2014/2015

Firefighters Scholarship 2014/2015

Do you have a great idea for improving some aspect of the New Zealand Fire Service that aligns with current organisational strategy and Vision 2020? If so, check out the Firefighters’ Scholarship.

The Firefighters’ Scholarship provides an opportunity to research or study a topic or undertake a project relevant to any area of the Fire Service’s strategic plan. Eligible applicants include career firefighters and officers (up to / including Senior Station Officers) and Comcen Communicators, Senior Communicators and Shift Managers who have a minimum of five years’ service.

The Firefighters Scholarship offers a unique professional and personal development opportunity to staff that will also be of significant benefit to the Fire Service and assist the Commission in achieving the Vision 2020: ‘Leading integrated fire and emergency services for a safer New Zealand – Te Manatū o ngā ratonga ohotata kia haumaru ake ai a Aotearoa.’

Documents: (Click to view)

    2014-15-Scholarship-promotion-Associated-agencies PDF icon

    2014-15-Scholarship-promotion-Associated-agencies.pdf | pdf | 138 KB | Last Changed: 10/07/2014 6:56pm

Jul 08 2014

NTM 9/2014

NTM 9/2014


The Union has been advised that a small number of members (19), have apparently been over-paid - some for up to around 6 -7 months. These are persons who were in the groups that were intended to be grand-fathered as a consequence of the pay changes last year.

The Union is working through the issue with the Fire Service and those persons concerned will be notified directly. As well, it is intended that meetings will be offered to the affected members to discuss the issue with management and Union officials.

Pay Review - Black Watch and Com. Centres

Job Descriptions have been completed for Com. Centre staff and for Fire Safety.
Work is continuing to finalize Job Descriptions for Trainers and V.S.O.s

Wet Weather Gear

The Union is aware of the problems with the distribution of Wet Weather Gear and has ensured that Senior Managers are also aware and are addressing the issues. Given the well documented problems with new equipment recently (e.g. B.A.), it is very disappointing to see numerous problems with the distribution of this wet weather gear, but the urgency at this time is to get the problem fixed.

Trial of New Equipment

For some time the Union has been concerned at the unstructured, haphazard nature of many of the so-called trials that have occurred. Trials ought to be important and provide verifiable and useful results.

Management has accepted that things need to be improved and the Union expects to see more formal protocols and structures around trials in the future.

Carcinogenic Exposure Project

A deal of background/backroom progress has been made and an informative D.V.D. is about to be released. The various stream groups have also commenced work.

It is expected that a Business Case for a longer term extended project will be completed shortly.

Documents: (Click to view)

    NTM-No-9-8-July-2014 PDF icon

    NTM-No-9-8-July-2014.pdf | pdf | 40 KB | Last Changed: 08/07/2014 10:18pm

Jun 10 2014

NTM 8/2014: PCA Payment 2014

NTM 8/2014: PCA Payment 2014

The attached chart details the P.C.A. Payment.

It is intended for this to be paid on the pay-day Wednesday 25th June 2014.

Individual nett payments will be dependent on each worker’s increase and tax code at the time of payment.

The nett payment outlined is an estimate based on the top PAYE rate of 34.45%.

Documents: (Click to view)

    PCA-Payment PDF icon

    PCA-Payment.pdf | pdf | 440 KB | Last Changed: 10/06/2014 12:43pm

Jun 06 2014

NTM 7/2014

NTM 7/2014

Joint NZPFU - NZFS National Notice

2014 Market Rate Review for Staff Employed on the NZPFU Collective Agreement

The Collective Agreement (CA) agreed between the Fire Service and the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union in 2013 prescribes a review of market rates in May of each year that the agreement remains in force.

The 2014 market rates have been now been reviewed using the same approach that was applied when the new rates were established in 2013, including the annual market movement for the peer group that was used in 2012 to benchmark firefighter pay.

The average peer group movement for the year to March 2014 is 2.26%. However, the NZPFU proposed an increase to this adjustment to 2.5% in recognition of the particular role of fire fighters.

The following outcomes have been agreed between the NZFS and the NZPFU:

1. An increase of 2.5%, with effect from 1 July 2014, to each of the following:

  • Total Weekly Wage (TWW) rates for all Firefighter and Officer grades set out in Part 5 of the CA with the exception of the grand-parented rates in tables 7A, 7B, 7C, 7D, 7E and 7F. (The updated rate tables are attached as Appendix 1)
  • Remuneration rates for Communicators and Shift Managers as set out in Part 3 of the CEA. (See Appendix 2
  • Remuneration rates for those Black Watch positions covered by Part 4 of CE. (See Appendix 3
  • Allowance rates set out in Part 5 of the CEA. (The updated tables are included in Appendix 1).

2. The increase to the Part 3 and Part 4 rates is being implemented at this time to ensure these groups are not disadvantaged while the Part 3 and Part 4 Working Parties are still in progress.

3. Under clause 3.g of the Record of Agreement (dated 10 /09/13), fire fighters have achieved a 16 % reduction in the short term sickness absence levels to an average of 5.80 shifts per person for the period 1 May 2013 to 30 April 2014. This is notably more than the agreed 10% reduction to 6.25 required to implement the increase in overtime rates for 2014.

4. The updated rates also include:

  • The previously agreed transition of officers to 95% of the agreed market rate
  • An increase in the calculation of the overtime rates for:
    • Firefighters - to 1.2 times the standard hourly rate for the first three hours of all overtime worked on a weekday, and before 12pm on a Saturday
    • Officers – to 1.1 times the standard hourly rate for the first three hours of all overtime worked on a weekday, and before 12pm on a Saturday
  • For the avoidance of doubt, the following overtime rates will continue to be calculated at the same rates as applied in 2013 but they will be adjusted by the increase in the hourly rate. The calculation rates are: 
    • Firefighters
      • 1.33 times the standard hourly rates for all overtime worked in excess of the first three hours, and all overtime worked after 12pm on a Saturday, or at any other time on a Sunday
      • 1.5 times the standard hourly rate for all overtime worked on a public holiday
    • Officers
      • 1.3 times the standard hourly rates for all overtime worked in excess of the first three hours, and all overtime worked after 12pm on a Saturday, or at any other time on a Sunday
      • 1.5 times the standard hourly rate for all overtime worked on a public holiday
  • Transition of those firefighters and officers currently on grand-parented grades to the grades in Tables 2A and 2B, where their current paid rate has been overtaken by the market movement in the permanent grade. All grand-parented staff will transition to the substantive grades from 1 July 2014 with the exception of those Qualified Firefighters who are covered by Table 7B where they have not completed Senior Firefighter TAPS modules 1-3. 

All increased rates will be applicable from 1 July 2014, and the NZFS is planning to arrange payment of the increased rates for the payday 9 July 2014. Please note that there will need to be a freeze on any other salary changes for the pay period in which the new rates are implemented. Any status amendments will be held over until the next available pay, and any applicable back pay will be paid.

What does this mean for you?

  • For staff employed on Parts 3 and 4 of the CA, existing remuneration rates will increase by 2.5%. Use the links below to see the new rates.
  • For firefighters and officers, increased rates will apply but some staff that were placed in grand-parented grades from 1 July 2013 will now move to the substantive rates set out in tables 2A and 2B of part 5 of the CA. Use the link below to see the new rates.

Updated Charts and Tables

Documents: (Click to view)

    Appendix-1 PDF icon

    Appendix-1.pdf | pdf | 2.6 MB | Last Changed: 06/06/2014 1:53pm

    Appendix-2 PDF icon

    Appendix-2.pdf | pdf | 119 KB | Last Changed: 06/06/2014 1:53pm

    Appendix-3 PDF icon

    Appendix-3.pdf | pdf | 120 KB | Last Changed: 06/06/2014 1:53pm

    Examples-of-Transition-from-Grand-parented-Rates-to-Substantive-Rates PDF icon

    Examples-of-Transition-from-Grand-parented-Rates-to-Substantive-Rates.pdf | pdf | 779 KB | Last Changed: 06/06/2014 1:53pm

May 30 2014

NTM 6/2014

NTM 6/2014

Stand-Ins – Public Holidays

Subsequent to agreement between the Union and Fire Service, the following will apply:

  • The person actually working (doing the stand-in) will receive the additional .5 payment at their appropriate hourly rate.

Black Watch – Attraction Strategies

In conjunction and associated with the Part 4 Job Sizing exercise, the Fire Service has established a group including Union Representative Peter Hallett, to look at the overall issue of attraction of people into Black Watch positions.

The Union supports this project and encourages participation. This project is not designed to specifically address remuneration or C.A. issues, but the information collected might identify matters such as remuneration, which will be forwarded to the appropriate C.A. Working Parties.

Working Parties – C.A.

The Working Parties looking at Black Watch and Com. Centres are in the process of developing relevant Job Descriptions for relevant benchmark positions. Once this has been completed, the benchmark positions will be subject to the Job Sizing exercise undertaken last year for operational staff.

Collective Agreement – Pay Rise

Work has nearly been completed between the Union and the Fire Service using data collected by Hays to determine the pay increase to apply from 1 July 2014. As well absence rates relative to the Agreement on the increase in Overtime Rates will be considered.

There will be a need to amend all the charts as in the Part 5 Tables & Charts. This is a considerable exercise.

It is expected that the finalized information will be able to be released next week and this will include the % increase and the amended charts including amended Overtime Rates.

Qualified Firefighters – those affected by Strike Action

The Union and the Fire Service have concluded an Agreement to resolve this Dispute. A copy of this Agreement is attached.

The Agreement provides a collective payment of some $87,000 to the affected workers.

As well, the Agreement provides that all reasonable steps will be taken by all parties to ensure that the requirements for progression to S.F.F. will be achieved within the normal 4 year cycle.

Documents: (Click to view)

    Settlement-Agreement PDF icon

    Settlement-Agreement.pdf | pdf | 89 KB | Last Changed: 30/05/2014 11:49am

    NTM-No.-6-30-May-2014 PDF icon

    NTM-No.-6-30-May-2014.pdf | pdf | 43 KB | Last Changed: 06/06/2014 10:22am

Apr 17 2014

NTM 5/2014

NTM 5/2014

QFF Progression Dispute

The Employment Relations Authority held the Investigation Meeting regarding this dispute in Wellington on 15 April.

The Authority reserved its decision but gave a preliminary indication that:

  • It was unlikely that any agreement had been made;
  • That the employer’s interpretation of the Progression Clause (essentially that all progression requirements needed to be completed before progression and that the consequent pay increase only take place once all these requirements were met) was likely to be upheld.

The Authority has indicated a decision would be put on hold until after Easter to see if the parties are able to resolve the matter by discussion.

This discussion is occurring and progress is being made – but some matters are quite technical and require close legal scrutiny.

The Union is very hopeful that these discussions will result in a jointly acceptable outcome.

ACC Consent Form

In the light of the recent ruling about the validity and the use of the ACC Consent Forms, the Union has raised the implications of this ruling to the form the Fire Service uses.

The Fire Service has accepted there are issues that need to be addressed and are working to:

  • Amend the form as necessary;
  • Consider the way in which the form is used – information collected and used.

The Fire Service has agreed to discuss with the Union the updated/redrafted form and its use.

If any members believe they have been disadvantaged by the previous interpretation/application or the use of the form, please advise this office.

Documents: (Click to view)

    NTM-No-5-17-April-2014 PDF icon

    NTM-No-5-17-April-2014.pdf | pdf | 35 KB | Last Changed: 17/04/2014 7:57pm

Apr 09 2014

Statement from NZFS, NZPFU and UFBA - BA Medium Pressure Hose Kinking

Statement from NZFS, NZPFU and UFBA - BA Medium Pressure Hose Kinking

This notice provides an update on the joint work taking place between NZFS management, the NZPFU and the UFBA to resolve the current situation with BA set medium pressure hoses.

Documents: (Click to view)

    Hose-kinking-NZFS-NZPFU-UFBA-joint-statement PDF icon

    Hose-kinking-NZFS-NZPFU-UFBA-joint-statement.pdf | pdf | 802 KB | Last Changed: 09/04/2014 5:19pm

Apr 03 2014

Union/Fire Service Joint Message - Collective Agreement Working Parties

Union/Fire Service Joint Message - Collective Agreement Working Parties

As members will recall, the existing Collective Agreement expires 30 June 2015.
However, during the course of the Agreement, a number of Working Parties are to be established to look at:

  • Part 3 and Part 4 Review of Remuneration. This will include appropriate benchmarking and will consider whether any changes to remuneration structures are necessary to support attraction, retention and progression;
  • Review of P.C.A.;
  • Review of Collective Agreement – simplification and clarification (will not consider changes to entitlements).

The intention of these Working Parties is to be in a position to provide detailed information to assist the Bargaining for a renewal of the Collective Agreement in 2015.

Planning and discussion commenced IN 2013 and the Union and the Fire Service Management met on 21 March to formally commence the Working Party process.

For the Part 3 and Part 4 exercise, the Working Parties will commence shortly establishing and determining Job/Position Descriptions. This will include involvement with persons currently working in the various categories - Communication Centres, Volunteer Support Officers, Fire Risk Management Officers and Training roles that are covered by the CEA.

Hay Group will be involved in the benchmarking exercise – doing much the same job as they did for the Operational Benchmarking exercise. Hay Group attended the 21 March meeting for around an hour and refreshed the Union and Management on what they can contribute.

The P.C.A. Review will particularly look at:

  • Administrative arrangements around the actual assessment;
  • Qualifying criteria;
  • The place of on-site station gyms, including management, payment and maintenance of equipment;
  • Basis of the payment.

The 2014 round of P.C.A. will continue under all existing arrangements – any changes that might arise out of the Working Party would not be implemented until 2016 – if appropriate.

As occurred with the Job Sizing exercise for Operational Workers, as matters progress regular updates will be provided.

Fire Risk Management Strategy Review

NZPFU Part 4 members may be aware of the commencement of this Review. The Review will be formally announced in the near future. The Union has been consulted as is appropriate and Peter Hallett has been asked to be specifically involved as the NZPFU representative.

Peter Hallett’s role is providing a link between Fire Risk Management Officers (NZPFU members) and the NZPFU and NZFS regarding any concerns/issues at the process, that the Review targets the right things, and that members have a means of forwarding complaints if or when the Review goes off target.

All FRMOs will be given the opportunity to have their say and provide input through a proposed consultation process, either face to face and/or electronically, perhaps as individuals and/or groups.

This Review is not a review of Part 4 of the C.A., but it is possible the work could have some impact on the work of the Part 4 Working Party, which work is also about to commence.

Members are encouraged to participate in the Review of this strategy which will help form the business Fire Risk Management will undertake in the future, but as with so many things, “Be careful what you wish for, cause one day they may come true”.

Peter Hallett will provide the necessary link between the two projects.

Documents: (Click to view)


    JOINT-MESSAGE-NZPFU-NZFS-April-2014.pdf | pdf | 42 KB | Last Changed: 03/04/2014 10:05am

Mar 19 2014

NTM 3/2014

NTM 3/2014

Relationship with UFU of Australia

Last week the NZPFU and the UFU of Australia National Committees met for a 2 day meeting.

There was extensive discussion and exchanges of information covering a range of issues including:

  • Medical Responses
  • Firefighters and Cancer
  • Union Global Alliance
  • Interaction with AFAC

The simple fact is, for example with Medical Responses, Melbourne has been doing this for a number of years; they have identified numerous problems/issues and have found resolution to them. It makes complete sense for us to learn from that experience rather than (once again) trying to reinvent the wheel.

It is planned for there to be further joint meetings and there is an agreement between both Unions for a Joint Conference in Auckland later this year.

SMS Update - Personal Details

The Fire Service is about to advise members of the opportunity to update personal details – contacts etc. on SMS. Although this process is voluntary, unless there are extraordinary circumstances, the Union encourages members to get these details updated.

In the case of a disaster, this will facilitate communication with families etc.


The Union, through various representatives, is presently well involved with a large number of Fire Service Projects including:

  1. Firefighters and Cancer
  2. Traffic Management Plans
  3. Review of Fire Safety
  4. Accident Investigations
  5. B.A. issues
  6. Collective Agreement – Part 4, Com Centres.
  7. P.C.A. Review
  8. Medical Responses

As well, the business as usual work on Safety & Health, PPE, Training and Disputes continues.

Documents: (Click to view)

    NEWSLETTER-TO-MEMBERS-No-3-18-March PDF icon

    NEWSLETTER-TO-MEMBERS-No-3-18-March.pdf | pdf | 39 KB | Last Changed: 19/03/2014 3:59pm

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