Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Change Required to Unfair Insurance-based Fire Service Levy

Urgent Change Required to Unfair Insurance-based Fire Service Levy


The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) is recommending a fairer way of funding the fire service to better reflect the public good it provides for all New Zealanders.

In reports commissioned by the Insurance Council of New Zealand, the NZIER has recommended moving the funding of the fire service from insurance-based levies to property-value based levies for both non-commercial (residential and lifestyle) and real commercial property to general taxation.

The NZIER recommendations join a mounting body of expert opinion that funding the fire service through a levy on insurance premiums is unfair, outdated and out-of-step with the rest of the world.

ICNZ Chief Executive Tim Grafton says: “No-one would expect the police force to be funded through their insurance premiums yet the fire service provides a public good that is collected by insurance companies for the benefit for all New Zealanders, including the uninsured or under-insured.”

ICNZ says funding the service from general taxation would also better reflect the diverse role the fire service plays, which often has little to do with putting out fires, for example rescuing victims of serious road accidents or dealing with chemical spills.

“It’s time to change the way the fire service is funded to better reflect the work it does, the public good it provides and ensure that its costs are fairly met by all who benefit.

“While there is still a lack of political urgency for changes to the funding of the fire service, we will be making strong representations to Government after the election," says Mr Grafton.

The NZIER reports note that across the Tasman, Australian States have successively moved from insurance-based levies to property-based levies to fund their fire and emergency services.

The last mainland state (New South Wales) with an insurance-based levy has completed its public consultation and is observing the outcome of the recent change to a property-based levy in Victoria before implementing similar changes. The two Australian Territories fund their fire and emergency services from government consolidated revenue.

NZIER recommends from their current analysis that the following regimes be applied, based on either the capital value or the value of improvements of properties:

· for non-commercial property, a single rate levy on property value up to a fixed cap (either $200,000 value of improvements or $500,000 capital value)

· for commercial property, a dual-rate abating levy, with an initial rate no higher than the current insurance-based levy rate per unit of value, and the abatement point set so as to balance the benefits across mid-range to higher value properties in an equitable manner.

The report recommends that the property-based levy be collected by local authorities as a rate (deemed rate) on property values, and that this rate be extended to include many of the properties that are exempted from general rates (notably churches, schools, hospitals) but which are currently contributing to payment of the insurance-based fire service levy.

NZIER suggests that the transitional costs should be met by central Government and that the ongoing costs of collection should be recovered from the levy collection, with levy rates adjusted.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And
Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the Resource Management Act.

Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing, which happens to be another of the government’s most contentious, most ideologically-driven policy packages. Presumably, Key will be trying not to double down on the rhetoric, and thereby leave room for Labour leader Andrew Little to sound like the centrist voice of reason.

Key will have his work cut out, though. More>>

 
 

Transport: Auckland Looks To Light Rail

The Board of Auckland Transport has called for an investigation into a light rail network, which could relieve traffic congestion on some of the region’s busiest roads. This stems from work in 2012 (the City Centre Future Access study) which responded to a government request to develop a robust and achievable solution for access to the CBD. More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith's Claims Don't Match Evidence - Greens

The Motu group’s research into the impacts of planning rules looked at the costs related to housing development but not the benefits of environmental protections and does not recommend significant changes to the RMA to reduce the cost of new house builds. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Similarities Between John Key And David Cameron

For years now, David Cameron has been the closest available thing to a mentor/analogue to our Prime Minister, such that Key watchers could be interested in an analysis of Cameron that appeared in the British press over the Christmas break. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Ian Fletcher Resignation & GCSB’s New Role

It may well be that after being shoulder-tapped in Queensland for the GCSB job, three years of living in Wellington has been enough for Fletcher and his family, given that the pending review of the GCSB would have required an even longer commitment from him. Three years of Wellington’s weather is enough for anyone... More>>

ALSO:

Ian Apperley: $10m Or $100m For New Wellington Council IT System?

I feel a Tui Billboard coming on. I commented the other day that it looked like the Council’s Ninth big project was a potential $100 million plus... The Mayor has responded: “I am reassured by the Chief Executive and by Anthony Wilson that the proposed budget is in the region of $10 million.” More>>

ALSO:

Southern Ocean:
Navy Intercepts Illegal Fishing Vessels

Foreign Minister Murray McCully today put illegal fishing vessels operating in the Southern Ocean on notice and vowed to take action against their owners. “As part of a multi-agency operation, the HMNZS WELLINGTON has intercepted two vessels claiming to be flagged to Equatorial Guinea, fishing illegally in the Southern Ocean.” Mr McCully says. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news