11 Dec 2009

Average worker to pay $180 more in ACC levies

6:25 am on 11 December 2009

A person on the average wage will pay almost $150 more a year in ACC levies next year, as well as $30 per car.

The Government has issued details of the final levy increases, which are less than those earlier recommended by the corporation.

An employee on the average wage of $49,500 will now pay $1306.92 a year in ACC levies - an overall increase of $178.50.

ACC Minister Nick Smith says the increases are necessary because ACC's claim costs have increased by 57% in the past four years. He says that setting the rates was a difficult balance of minimising the cost increases for families and businesses while ensuring ACC's long-term viability.

We have listened to motorcyclists, says minister

Mr Smith also says that a major backdown on increasing fees for motorbikes shows the Government has listened to motorcyclists.

The cost of registering a 600cc+ motorbike will rise from $252.69 to $426.92, which is well below the ACC's recommended level of nearly $750.

Mopeds will cost just under $130 a year to license instead of nearly $260, while bikes of up to 600cc will cost $327 instead of more than $511.

Mr Smith says that the costs are still substantial but that $30 from every motorcycle licensing fee will be used for a new injury prevention programme for motorcyclists.

The president of the Auckland branch of Bikers Rights, Les Mason, says that he accepts the Government has listened to the thousands who turned out in protests around the country but that, although riders are no longer furious at ACC hikes, they are still not happy.

Government 'scaremongered' over increases - Labour

The Labour Party says the backdown in levy increases shows they were overblown from the start. The party's ACC spokesperson, David Parker, says the Government scaremongered over the increases - but motorcyclists also lobbied well for changes, he says.

The Greens' ACC spokesperson, Kevin Hague, says levies would not need to rise if the Government abandoned the aim of fully funding the lifetime cost of claims.

The aim of fully funding ACC was only introduced to make it easier to open it up to competition from the private sector, he says.