The Insurance Council of New Zealand is supporting the decision by the Government to exempt travel insurance and insurance on certain types of property from having to pay the Fire Service Levy. “While we oppose the policy of taxing people who insure themselves to pay for the public good provided by Fire and Emergency New Zealand, we are pleased to see common sense reign on the decision to exempt travel insurance as well as other insured property like swimming-pools, water pipelines and tanks from the tax,” Insurance Council Chief Executive Tim Grafton said. “Without this decision, people who took out travel insurance to holiday overseas would have been taxed even though there was no way the FENZ would have provided any service at all. Ironically, most people buy travel insurance to cover themselves for health costs, theft and cancellations none of which involve the FENZ,” he said. “The need for this exemption arose because the Act now requires any insurance policy that covers people for material damage to property to pay the tax. Travel insurance does cover people for damage to property amongst many other things” he said. “We now expect a similar common sense approach to apply to liability insurance which provides cover for any loss, not just material damage, to third parties” he said. Background: Parts of the FENZ Act came into force on 1 July 2017. These latest decisions on exemptions by government give clarity to property owners and insurers and are an important step toward the new funding regime which comes into force on 1 January 2019.