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Bikers ACC Fees Will Go Up But Not As Much As Flagged: Smith

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

(pictures available at www.nzpaimages.co.nz) Wellington, Nov 17 NZPA - Bikers' ACC levies will have to go up, but not as much as has been flagged, ACC Minister Nick Smith said today as thousands of protesting motorcyclists swamped Parliament grounds.

An estimated 5000 bikers made it to Parliament after filling the motorways into Wellington to protest against the Government's plans to raise their ACC levies.

In a noisy, but peaceful, rally they shouted Dr Smith down when he tried to explain the policy by repeatedly chanting "bulls..t".

Under changes proposed by ACC, motorcyclists would have to pay $257.58, a rise from $58.97, to register a moped.

All motorcycle registrations currently cost $252.69. But from 2010/11 bikes from 125cc to 600cc would go up to $511.43, while those over 600cc would be $745.77.

After addressing the rally, Dr Smith said a levy hike was justified because there were more motorcycles on the road and they were having more accidents.

The representatives he met with disputed ACC's figures, which showed over 10 years the number of motorcycles had gone from 60,500 to 97,000 and injury claims from 871 to 5044.

In 1998 there had been 69 motorbikes per claim, in 2009 there were 19.

Despite this Dr Smith had some good news for the protesters.

"I've indicated to them that it's unlikely that the Government will agree to the scale of increase that the ACC board has recommended," Dr Smith said.

"The positive thing that came out of both the protest and the meeting was a real willingness to take steps to improve motorcycle safety."

Labour leader Phil Goff, himself a biker, also spoke at the protest, saying the message to Government was very clear: "That the statistics that they are basing this $500 increase on are crap -- they are absolutely crap."

"Who's next on that list. Is it the elderly people? People like my dad who is 88 and falls over a lot.

"Are they going to put big levies on people for getting old because they have more accidents?"

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