Wednesday, 27 April 2011
GOVERNMENT FIDDLES WHILE FIRE-SERVICE BURNS
The Christchurch Earthquake has hit the Fire Service. New Zealand fire fighters received huge praise for their heroic efforts in rescuing the people of Christchurch however the cost of doing this could affect the upgrade of aging equipment throughout New Zealand. I understand that the Fire Service has incurred $8.5 million dollars in costs as a result of services in Christchurch. Apparently the Fire Service chief executive Mike Hall expects to absorb the costs by cutting back spending on new fire engines and stations. The Fire Service's earthquake costs again raise long-debated issues about how it was funded through a fire levy on insurance. For home-owners, a portion of their house insurance goes to the fire service levy. Most schools, hospitals and state agencies do not pay the levy. Thanks to this funding stupidity New Zealand is going to be left with a less effective Fire Service. While 15 percent of homeowners are not insured the biggest bludger in terms of avoiding the levy is the Government. Rural New Zealand wants an assurance that if their is a funding shortfall, that this will not be a the loss of service delivery and compromise to the safety of New Zealanders. It is ironic that the Government is busy slashing public welfare and social services yet can find billions of dollars for corporate welfare such as South Canterbury Finance, a plastic waka and millions of dollars for their new fleet of chauffeur driven BMWs with heated seats.