Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Financial Debacle At The Top Of The Fire Service

Financial Debacle At The Top Of The Fire Service



"The announcement today that the Fire Service Levy is to be put back to a rate of 6.2 cents per $100 of insured value is a failure of both the government and the Fire Service Commission" said Derek Best, Secretary of the Firefighters Union.

"Firstly, almost everyone who has looked at the present funding mechanism of the Fire Service has seen that it is unfair and unsatisfactory, except it seems to the government."

"The Internal Affairs Select Committee that inquired into the Fire Service last year specifically recommended:

- That the provisions in the Act relating to the calculation of the Fire Service Levy be reviewed as a matter of urgent priority; and

a.. That the government review the way in which the Fire Service is funded. "

"It is because of the failure of the government to take any action on those unanimous recommendations that the person who conscientiously and responsibly insures their property is now to be faced with paying more for the Fire Service. Those who do not insure, or under-insure, or evade or avoid payment of the levy continue to avoid paying their fair share. As well, a significant amount of Fire Service work is not specifically funded - for example motor vehicle accidents. Finally, last year this government stopped paying its previous contribution of 8% of the Fire Service budget. The government, as a property owner in large part now gets fire cover for free."

"This increase in Fire Service levy is just another example of an increase in an indirect tax. There would not be this tax increase if the government had moved to review and put in place a fair mechanism of funding the Fire Service", Derek Best said.

"Secondly, the need for additional funding is further evidence of the lunacy of so-called restructuring of the Fire Service commenced by Roger Estall, endorsed by this government and continued by the present Commission. At Roger Estall's last Commission meeting, the Commission resolved to establish a short term $60 million loan facility. By August this year $30 million had been drawn down and $7.75 million had been borrowed from other sources."

"The 'savings' the Commission intended to make were nothing more than sacking all firefighters and reducing overall numbers of firefighters by more than 400. This plan has been found to be unlawful and that decision of the Employment Court was endorsed by the Court of Appeal just last week."

"The only sign of any belt tightening in the Fire Service is at the front line where firefighters still experience a 9 year wage freeze. Corporate office management numbers continue to increase regularly and there is no wage freeze for the bosses", Derek Best said.

"Millions of dollars have been wasted by the previous and the present Commission. Massive legal bills, public relations costs and golden handshakes have all contributed to the present financial crisis in the Fire Service. The level of incompetence displayed by the Minister of Internal Affairs, the government, and the previous and present Commission is breathtaking", Derek Best concluded.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Voluntary Administration: Renaissance Brewing Up For Sale

Renaissance Brewing, the first local company to raise capital through equity crowdfunding, is up for sale after cash flow woes and product management issues led to the appointment of voluntary administrators. More>>


Approval: Northern Corridor Decision Released

The approval gives the green light to construction of the last link of Auckland’s Western Ring Route, providing an alternative route from South Auckland to the North Shore. More>>


Media Mega Merger: Full Steam Ahead For Appeal

New Zealand's two largest news publishers have confirmed they are committed to pursuing their appeal against the Commerce Commission's rejection of the proposal to merge their operations. More>>

Crown Accounts: $4.1 Billion Surplus

The New Zealand Government has achieved its third fiscal surplus in a row with the Crown accounts for the year ended 30 June 2017 showing an OBEGAL surplus of $4.1 billion, $2.2 billion stronger than last year, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says. More>>


Mycoplasma Bovis: One New Property Tests Positive

The newly identified property... was already under a Restricted Place notice under the Biosecurity Act. More>>

Accounting Scandal: Suspension Of Fuji Xerox From All-Of-Government Contract

General Manager of New Zealand Government Procurement John Ivil says, “FXNZ has been formally suspended from the Print Technology and Associated Services (PTAS) contract and terminated from the Office Supplies contract.” More>>