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Govt Accused Of Undermining ACC

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
David Parker
David Parker

Wellington, Dec 11 NZPA - The Government is being accused of undermining the fundamental principles of ACC by introducing a user-pays approach to accident compensation.

ACC Minister Nick Smith yesterday announced levy increases of about $200 a year for an average income worker with a car,

Levies for motorcycles also go up at rates which depend on the size of the engine, although less than recommended by ACC's board.

Labour's ACC spokesman David Parker said it was all about people paying more for less.

"The Government's treatment of motorcycle levies is symptomatic of an increasing user-pays approach which is picking off groups of New Zealanders one by one," he said.

"At the heart of these changes is a drive towards user-pays which undermines the fundamental ACC scheme principle of community responsibility -- that we all chip in and we all get covered if we have an accident."

Mr Parker said elderly people were being picked on through "callous" changes around hearing loss which the Human Rights Commission believed was a breach of the Human Rights Act.

Using that approach, elderly people could be charged more because they fell more often in the home, he said.

Mr Parker again accused the Government of wanting to privatise ACC, which Dr Smith denied.

"This Government is going to retain the ACC in public ownership," Dr Smith said.

He said the levy increases were a balance between what people could afford and keeping the scheme viable.

Further increases were possible, he admitted.

The levy increases for next year include:

* Employee levy to increase by 30 cents to $2 per $100 of earnings -- an increase of nearly $150 a year for someone on the average income of just under $50,000, taking the total levy for them to $990 a year from April 1;

* The motor vehicle levy increases by about $30 a year -- from $168.46 to $198.46 from July 1. The petrol levy remains at 9.9 cents;

* The employer and self-employed levy increases by 16 cents to $1.47 from April 1;

* Motorcycles: Mopeds 50cc and under will pay $129.24 (more than double the current $58.97), motorbikes up to 600cc will pay $327.70 (up from $252.69 now) and bikes over 600cc will pay $426.92 (up from $252.69).

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