Introducing the Bully Brigade: Crisis in Kaiapoi

CORRECTION: ?This article ran with a photo that was not Pete Nicolle. ?The person in the photo remains unidentified, but our apologies are extended for getting it wrong. ?Thanks to the person who highlighted this error. ? The photo below has replaced the erroneous one, and is of Pete Nicolle. ?


You wouldn?t want your house catching fire in Kaiapoi right now. The tip line is red hot with information including leaked emails from within Fire Service National HQ that the local fire brigade is falling to bits. Whaleoil will keep you updated as the story develops because things are turning for the worse. But in the meantime here?s the backstory.

Everyone outside the big cities knows the big issue in the fire service. On one hand, there?re the decent community people who join up as Volunteers, give their time for free, do the training, help out round the station and get up in the middle of the night when there?s a fire. ?

And then there are The Sleepers. They?re the so-called ?professional? firefighters. They?re the ones on a salary, work shifts only and get to sleep on the job. Their union boss in Wellington is Pete ?The Punter? Nicolle. Because the ?professionals? do the pin-up calendar every year no politician will smash the sleeper scam ? even when the likes of Margaret Bazley says it like it is.

The Sleepers don?t like The Volunteers because they are the biggest threat to the scam. If there are volunteers who can put out your fire as well as a ?professional? then why pay The Sleepers to sleep each night? So there?s often bullying down at the station.

But Kaiapoi is in a league of its own and the matter has reached the highest levels, with Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne and State Services Commission Iain Rennie in on the action, but both of them are too chicken of ?The Punter? to do anything about it.

The Chief Sleeper at Kaipoi is Brad Mosby and his sidekick is Tim Evans who is a professional from Christchurch airport and they?re determined to get the local Volunteers out of ?their? station. The latest to go was just before Christmas when they managed to get one of the last Volunteers, Brent Cairns, kicked out.

Brent is a local hero and had been awarded a Kiwibank Local Hero of the Year medal for his years of volunteer work with the Fire Service. But he got kicked out last year when he got permission from his superior for the fire truck to be used at a community event. The Sleepers don?t want the The Volunteers being part of community events for fear someone might ask them to get out of bed one day for something similar. The Punter doesn?t like that sort of thing.

I?ve been looking at this and keeping tip offs for months. Local MP Clayton Cosgrove ? one of the least bad Labour MPs ? has also been trying to get it resolved for three years but no one in Wellington will take on The Punter and his local G?s to sort it out.

So now its time for The Punter and Brad ?The Munter? Mosby and Tim ?The Tool? Evans to get a taste of their own medicine. In the next few days I?ll be telling you all about them. And we?ll also be looking at why Iain Rennie (he of Roger Sutton fame) and Peter Dunne refuse to do anything. Be warned though: it?s not a story for the fainthearted.