7 Feb 2013

Govt to decide on Fire Service funding in April

9:18 pm on 7 February 2013

Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain says the Government will make decisions in April about changes to the way the Fire Service is funded.

His comments come after a review of the Fire Service commissioned by the Government says the way it is funded needs urgent attention.

The review, headed by former Labour Cabinet minister Paul Swain, says firefighters tackle a range of crises such as floods and accidents, but are only funded by levies on fire insurance.

To fix this, it calls for levies to be charged on all insurance polices dealing with material damage.

However, the report backs away from the so-called free rider problem, in which people who do not insure their buildings and therefore do not pay for the Fire Service, still expect it to help them.

The report merely calls for further examination of this problem.

Earlier reports have suggested the free rider issue could be fixed by funding the Fire Service from taxation as an essential service, such as the police.

However, this aspect was explicitly excluded from the terms of reference of the inquiry.