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4 December 2017
For more than 40 years, the Fire Service Levy has been the main source of funding for New Zealand's 14,000 firefighters and the vital work they do protecting life and property across the country.
The New Zealand Fire Service, National Rural Fire Authority and multiple other rural fire authorities are joining together to become one organisation: Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ). In order to establish this organisation and maintain the current level of services provided, fire levies are being increased by the government.
The urban and rural fire brigades around New Zealand answer about 62,000 callouts each year.
The Fire Service Levy is charged on various insurance policies including home and contents, motor vehicle and business assets cover. It is basically a form of tax, paid by insurance customers and collected by insurers on behalf of the Fire Service Commission.
The new Fire and Emergency legislation will mean a 40% increase on fire service levies for all individuals and companies who have residential, rural or commercial property insurance or motor vehicle insurance. The new legislation is set to come fully into force in July 2020.
When the new regime does come into force, there will be some fundamental changes to the way in which levies are calculated and the cost of insurance to customers. The full impact for customers will not be known until the new levy rates are determined by the government.
The main changes under new levy regime will be:
Higher levies will cover some of the extra costs of reorganising the fire service and providing additional services, including: