12 Nov 2009

Travel allowance cut will not harm rural areas - ACC

7:42 am on 12 November 2009

The Accident Compensation Corporation says its decision to cut travel allowances to home care workers will not disadvantage rural communities.

Under the new rules, home care workers, who typically help with tasks such as showering and domestic duties, would not be paid for the first 20 kilometres they travel to get to the client.

Rural Women New Zealand has labelled the move short-sighted because they organisation says it will lead to a shortage of home care workers for rural communities.

ACC director of heath purchasing Gail Kettle says the changes are to bring it in line with payments by other providers such as district health boards.

She says those workers who travel the longest distance will benefit most, so rural communities will not be disadvantaged.

Ms Kettle says there have been shortages of rural home care workers in the past, but there are currently enough to meet demand.

However she says ACC will be monitoring numbers to ensure there's no drop-off as a result of its decision.

Marie Appleton of Rural Women New Zealand has said the ACC move, combined with the effects of increasing fuel prices, will discourage those who are already in this line of work.

Ms Appleton says people on some of the lowest rates of pay are being penalised.