Levy rates for fire and emergency services announcedInternal Affairs
Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne has announced the new levy rates which will fund the unified national fire and emergency service – Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
From 1 July 2017, Fire and Emergency New Zealand will deliver fire and emergency services across the country. The organisation will bring together volunteer and paid, urban and rural firefighters, to deliver a comprehensive national emergency service.
Following public consultation on levy rates in November 2016, Cabinet has this week approved the new rates. These will come into effect on 1 July 2017:
- New Zealanders with house and contents insurance will see their levy increase by approximately $0.70 per week, which is an additional $36 per year.
- The total levy on house and contents insurance will increase to $127.20 per year.
- Car insurance will increase by approximately $0.05 per week, which is an additional $2.37 per year.
- The total levy on car insurance will now be $8.45 per year.
“The new levy rates will ensure that Fire and Emergency New Zealand has the necessary funding to deliver essential fire and emergency services to both rural and urban communities.
“Some commercial and public entities will face larger increases, though the new legislation will allow for certain measures to address affordability and fairness concerns that were raised during the consultation process.
“Local government will also no longer fund the costs of rural fire services, approximately $30 million nationally, from local rates.
“The Government expects local government to return these savings to ratepayers as a consequence,” says Mr Dunne.
“This comprehensive reform involves bringing together 40 organisations and over 14,000 volunteer and paid, urban and rural firefighters and personnel under one umbrella. It will deliver a flexible, modern, and efficient fire and emergency service that is fit-for-purpose not just for this year, but for the future.”
“This new levy rate will allow for improved support to volunteer firefighters, and will help to ‘close the gap’ in rural communities where fire and emergency services have been underfunded for years.
“It reflects the true cost of delivering high quality services directly to our urban and rural communities”.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand personnel will have a legal mandate for all the work the modern firefighter does, including responding to medical emergencies, natural disasters, road accidents, hazardous substance incidents, and urban search and rescue.