The Fire Service has enormous sympathy for the victims of the Christchurch earthquake and their families.
We are concerned by the comments made by Nigel Hampton QC at the Royal Commission today and do not accept his views.
Frontline personnel in Christchurch went above and beyond what is normally expected, showing incredible courage and providing an outstanding service to the public under very difficult and hazardous conditions. If staff had not taken such risks, I am sure more lives may have been lost.
The operational decisions at the collapsed buildings were influenced by factors such as aftershocks and movement in the wreckage. Any rescue from a collapsed building requires careful risk assessment and we choose the best techniques likely to work under the circumstances.
Firefighters will always do their absolute best to save lives. However, sometimes we do not succeed.
The Fire Service will continue to provide evidence to the enquiries. In our view, our evidence will show the response was entirely appropriate given the magnitude of the event and that many people put their lives at risk to save others.