Lives are at risk over a decision by Fire and Emergency New Zealand to remove high-ladder trucks from initial responses to Auckland emergencies, the union says.

But FENZ has denied the public are in danger, saying a heavy aerial appliance - which has ladders up to 30m - is stationed just five minutes from the central business district if needed.

It was the delayed arrival of such a fire truck at the Grenfell Tower inferno in London that contributed to the tragedy, in which 72 people died in June 2017, one veteran says.

New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union Auckland local

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