A 40% hike in the insurance fire levy to fund the fire service amalgamation comes with “little or no increase services,” a new report by the Taxpayers’ Union has found – opposing claims by Peter Dunne, the internal affairs minister who proposed the reform.
“Total fire services costs will shoot up by $80 million per year despite efficiency being the key promise by Mr Dunne on these reforms,” said Jordan Williams, the union’s executive director in a scoop.nz report.
“What is worse, the Government has increased the economic burden on New Zealanders without any comparable increase in the level of service.
“According to the Government’s own figures, efficiency gains years down the track will not even recoup 12% of the forecast increase in costs due to the amalgamations.
“Despite rhetoric by politicians that these reforms are about saving money, according to official estimates, the emperor has no clothes. The costs are forecast to skyrocket,” Williams said.
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The Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) Bill is in the final stages of passing in Parliament, and will see the merger of urban and rural fire services into one national organisation under the funding of the insurance levy on July 01 this year.
Williams, however, slammed the lack of “homework” and accountability on the issue, which he said will put financial burden on Kiwis in the coming years.
“Currently, only New Zealand First is blowing the whistle on this issue,” he said. “The question is, why haven’t the other parties done their homework and held Peter Dunne to account for what appears to be an enormous own goal? His reform, which he’s sold on the basis of ‘efficiency’ will, in fact, cost New Zealanders’ hundreds of millions over the next few years alone.”
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