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join a mounting body of expert opinion that funding the fire service through a levy on insurance premiums is unfair, outdated and out-of-step with the rest of the world.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 The Ombudsman’s Verdict On Paula Rebstock And Ian Rennie

Unfortunately, the brave and damning report by Ombudsman Ron Paterson on the “flawed” and “unfair” inquiry conducted by Dame Paula Rebstock into events at MFAT pulls back the veil on a far wider issue. More>>

ALSO:

Charities' Report: Stressed Families - Overstretched Services

“Like so many of the whānau and families they serve social service organisations are under huge financial stress. The support demanded from desperate people in communities is far outreaching the resources available.” More>>

ALSO:

Detention: Wellingtonians Protest Treatment Of Refugees

Peace Action Wellington (PAW) and around 50 Wellingtonians blockaded the Australian High Commission, creating a symbolic detention centre to protest the Australian Government's policy of mandatory offshore detention for refugees and asylum seekers. More>>

ALSO:

Diver's Alarums: Breach Means Training Provider Must Repay $1.47 Million

The New Zealand School of Outdoor Studies is to repay $1.47 million (GST-exclusive) to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) following an investigation which showed that some student enrolments between 2009 -2014 could not be validated and that courses were under-delivered against their agreement with the TEC. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Government Plans Suggest Bulk Funding Return

Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. More>>

ALSO:

Interim Report: Auckland Looks Long Term To Pay-Per-Km Road Pricing

Aucklanders can expect to be paying variable rates per kilometre to travel on the city's most congested roads under an emerging transport strategy being formulated by the government and the Auckland Council. More>>

ALSO:

Despite Promises: Government Extends Iraq Deployment

Cabinet has agreed to extend New Zealand’s contribution to the joint New Zealand-Australia mission to train Iraqi Security Forces until November 2018. More>>

ALSO:

On The 'Terrorism' Card:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news