The country's fleet of specialist search and rescue vehicles is so bad that the rescuers have begun rebelling.
New papers show Search and Rescue teams have warned Fire and Emergency for four years this is compromising the outcome for New Zealanders 'in their time of need'.
The fire service approved getting more and better utes and trucks for its Urban Search and Rescue three years ago - but has not done it, not even after Cyclone Gabrielle.
In July, two USAR staff lashed out about years of using their own cars, trucks, utes, and trailers for training - with a team leader labelling FENZ 'totally unprofessional'.
They have even had to use their personal vehicles to go to emergencies like the Lake Ohau fire.
Phil Pennington spoke to Ingrid Hipkiss.