The Insurance Council of New Zealand is asking Internal Affairs Minister and United Future Leader to come clean about how he would fund a national emergency response service.  “Mr Dunne is currently proposing a 40% increase on 1 July in the tax that people who insure their properties pay to fund the merger of New Zealand’s fire services under one organisation.  That will come at a heavy cost for some and discourage people from protecting themselves with insurance,” Chief Executive of the Insurance Council Tim Grafton said. “Now, Mr Dunne is proposing that the newly merged body, Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ), take over all civil defence and ambulance operations around the country.  Unless, there is a commitment to fund FENZ from general taxation for the public good it will provide, it is monstrously unfair to load the burden for running a mega emergency service by taxing those who insure their own property,” he said.  “This is election year and we challenge all political parties to commit funding our emergency services fairly and sustainably.  Unless this happens, the direction the Minister is proposing will see people not insuring.  If anything has been learned since the Canterbury and Kaikoura earthquakes, it is that New Zealand is one of the riskiest countries in the world for natural disaster losses and that insurance is essential to manage that risk.”

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