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Increased levies to pay for fire service

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/03/2017

Insurance levies will increase on July 1 by 70 cents a week, or $36 a year, to pay for Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

The unified service will bring together professional and volunteer urban and rural firefighters with a legal mandate to fight fires, respond to medical emergencies, natural disasters, road accident and urban search and rescue.

Councils will save about $30m a year because they won't have to pay for rural fire services - and the government expects them to return it to ratepayers.

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne says the levy increase will be paid by everyone who has house and contents insurance, bringing the total levy to $127.20 a year.

In addition, the levy on car insurance will increase by $2.37 a year, bringing the total levy to $8.45.

"The new levy rates will ensure that Fire and Emergency New Zealand has the necessary funding to deliver essential fire and emergency services to both rural and urban communities," Mr Dunne said.

"This comprehensive reform involves bringing together 40 organisations and over 14,000 volunteer and paid urban and rural firefighters under one umbrella.

"It will deliver a flexible, modern and efficient fire and emergency service that is fit for purpose not just for this year but for the future."

Parliament recently passed legislation creating the new service, a reform which was years in the making.

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