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Insurance premiums could blaze out of control

Minister's eagerness could see insurance premiums blaze out of control

The Government's push for firefighters contracts to be settled by the end of July is likely to result in another hit in the wallet for householders, says National's Internal Affairs spokesman Lindsay Tisch.

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Mark Burton, has written to the Professional Firefighters Union and the Fire Service Commission pressuring them to sort out their contract wrangle within six weeks.

"Mr Burton is pushing for a rapid solution to save himself from political damage. But if that means meeting the firefighters pay demands that could see as much as $25 million a year extra needing to be raised through the fire service levy," Mr Tisch says.

"That would mean an increase of around 15 percent in the fire levies paid by every person or business with an insurance policy.

"There are complex issues involved in the contract negotiations, and the Minister is asking business and householders to pick up the bill for his politically expedient solution.

"Mr Burton, in his letter to the union and the commission, admits he doesn't know how much extra money will need to be set aside for pay rises. The public should keep a close eye on that figure when it emerges, since we'll be the ones picking up the bill," Mr Tisch concluded.


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