Insurance Council wants EQC, fire levies covered by taxpayer

  • 27/05/2017
From July 1 there will be a 40 percent increase in the levy used to fund the fire service (file)

The Insurance Council is calling on the Government to fund the fire service and Earthquake Commission, saying low income people can't afford the sky rocketing levies for these on insurance bills.

From July 1 there will be a 40 percent increase in the levy used to fund the fire service, and from November 1 there will be a 33 percent increase in the EQC levy for house insurance.

This means people with house and contents insurance will be levied and taxed over $450 without even counting the 15 percent GST applied to the premium, says Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton.

"General taxation should fund the fire service which benefits everyone, insured and uninsured alike," he says.

The Crown balance sheet is now strong and can bear the $1.75 billion exposure that the EQC levy seeks to fund, he says.

New Zealand is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to natural disasters for its size so insurance is vital, the council says.

"This election year there is an opportunity for political leadership to be shown. Does New Zealand continue to go down the path of making it increasingly difficult for low income people to protect themselves or should we really be addressing our vulnerability?"

There is also a moral hazard for the Government as more people are uninsured.

"Does it help the uninsured and thereby encourage greater levels of non-insurance and under-insurance?"