Ex-Southland fire chief takes reins

Last updated 14:48 04/02/2013

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Brendan Nally, the former Fire Service Southland area manager based in Invercargill, has been appointed to the same role in Canterbury.

Mr Nally was appointed chief fire officer for Dunedin in July 2011.

He has been the acting assistant national Fire Service commander in Christchurch.

The appointment comes after more than a year of executive-level upheaval in Canterbury.

Mr Nally fills the position left vacant by Rob Saunders, who was criticised for failing to lead effectively immediately after the February 2011 quake, including spending only about five minutes at the Canterbury Television rescue site.

An independent review called the Pilling report and an internal Fire Service inquiry found there was a significant disconnect between regional area management and staff, which contributed to poor decision-making on the day of the earthquake.

The internal report said a review of management structure was needed. Four of six Fire Service Canterbury bosses in place when the earthquake hit have since retired or left their roles.

Fire Service national commander Paul Baxter said Mr Nally's was a "critical" appointment owing to the issues aired in the reports and the "significant" changes in the management team.

"It's been 12 months of a lot of hard work to build back the trust [and] credibility. Of all the agencies, we're the only one that's reviewed itself so publicly, and that's because we're prepared to address the shortcomings," he said.

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