Firefighters are uncomfortable about being in the public eye but feel it is essential they take their concerns to the community, trainer Matthew Whyte told Southland MP Joseph Mooney on Friday.
Mr Mooney was visiting the Alexandra Fire Station to discuss the reasons for the current strike action by firefighters, among other matters.
As a former volunteer firefighter of almost four years, Mr Mooney said he could relate to the demands placed on career and volunteer firefighters.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) trainer for the Te Kei region (Otago and Southland), Mr Whyte said career firefighters were standing up for everyone.
‘‘If they don’t do this now, they’re worried it will have a run-on effect on volunteer firefighters,’’ he said.
He provided figures from the Fenz annual report for 2020-21 that showed 993 management and support staff were employed for 1854 career firefighters and 11,883 volunteers.
Mr Mooney said he was talking with National’s internal affairs spokesman Todd Muller about the firefighters’ concerns, and why money was not getting to those on the front lines.
‘‘It’s a significant amount of money,’’ he said.
‘‘Everyone is paying their levies but where is that going to?’’