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Small increase for fire protection

Hon Rick Barker
Minister of Internal Affairs

10 April 2008
Media Statement

Small increase for fire protection

A small increase in the Fire Service levy, the first in seven years, will take effect on 1 July, Internal Affairs Minister, Rick Barker said today.

The levy, which funds much of the nation’s firefighting and rescue services, will increase from 7.3 cents to 7.6 cents per $100 of insured property value and the flat rate charge for motor vehicles will rise from $5.84 to $6.08 a year.

Because the value of insured property, on which the levy is based, is capped at $100,000 the maximum increase for any New Zealand home is only $3 per annum.

“We review the levy annually and a modest increase now will avoid a more substantial increase later when the Commission has exhausted its cash reserves,” Mr Barker said.

"It is critically important that firefighters have the equipment and capacity to protect our communities and the levy provides critical support for the Fire Service.

"The increased levy will fund the Commission’s significant capital programme of $35-$50 million a year, which includes upgrading the firefighting fleet, additional fire stations in fast growing urban areas and earthquake strengthening of stations.

“The Fire Service is also facing an increasing number of callouts and a changing profile of incidents. Transport related incidents consume almost 20 per cent of operational response time.

“This increase will enable the Fire Service Commission to avoid operating deficits over the next three years.

"The changes to the levy will result in a total increase of only about $4 per year for a typical New Zealand household with house, contents and car insurance," Mr Barker said.


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