INDEPENDENT NEWS

Minister Van Velden Seeks Alternatives To Ease Financial Burden On FENZ Levy Payers

Published: Sun 7 Apr 2024 04:21 PM
“I am seeking a commitment from Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ) to cost savings where appropriate to keep levies affordable for New Zealand households and businesses,” Internal Affairs Minister Hon Brooke van Velden says.
Today FENZ released its consultation document and recommended an increase to the fire insurance levy. In response to FENZ’s recommendation, the Minister wrote to FENZ seeking a solution that will ensure continuity of services, that costs are fairly apportioned, and that levy revenue will be managed responsibly.
“I recognise Fire and Emergency carries out critical frontline services and needs enough funding to do so. However, I also consider it important that FENZ demonstrates a high level of accountability. I also acknowledge that it is levy payers – individuals, households, and businesses – who will pay for any increase.”
“I am not yet convinced that such an increase is justified, and have asked FENZ for the following information:Evidence of FENZ’s need for a 5.2% levy revenue increase for 2026-2029, especially given the already substantial 12.8% increase that will apply from July 2024;A description of the key outcomes that this increase would achieve, and that FENZ would be held accountable for achieving;An analysis of options for lesser levy revenue increases that FENZ could operate under, that minimise the financial burden on levy payers while still allowing the organisation to provide the required services and invest in future needs; andThe impacts of those lesser options on FENZ and the services it provides.
“I encourage the public to provide feedback during consultation as this will be an important consideration when the Government makes its final decision on the levy. I am interested in the impacts the levy will have on those who it applies to, and how it could affect behaviour.”
“This coalition Government is focused on making fiscal decisions that will drive greater value from spending, so that we can deliver better public services for all New Zealanders.”
The Minister will provide recommendations to Cabinet following a public consultation process held by FENZ.

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