22 Nov 2009

Motorcyclists rally against ACC levy increases

2:30 pm on 22 November 2009

The organiser of a motorcycle protest over proposed increases to ACC levies says the Government has underestimated the depth of anger felt by riders.

About 100 bikers protested in Mission Bay in Auckland on Sunday, with many vowing to continue protest action until the increases are dropped.

The Government says proposed rises to motorbike levies are part of Accident Compensation Corporation reforms and are justified, as the accident rate for motorcyclists had increased five-fold since the late 1990s.

Under the changes, owners of petrol-powered motorbikes of more than 600cc could see their fee rise from $252.69 to $745.77, while owners of petrol-powered mopeds face a rise from $58.97 to $257.58.

People taking part in Sunday's protest parked their bikes in individual carparks along the popular waterfront strip.

Organiser Anne James says the aim was not to cause disruption to businesses and motorcyclists were instructed to buy a coffee or have breakfast after the rally.

Ms James says the action was a direct way of showing the public just how many extra cars will be on the roads if the increases go ahead.

"The Government have got to know that we are not going to go away. This is about everybody in our community - everybody should be concerned about it. This message is going to be spreading far and wide and people are going to start thinking about it. I encourage other people not involved with motorcycling to come along and join us and have their voices heard around this ACC issue," she says.

Ms James says motorcyclists will continue protest action throughout New Zealand until the Government listens.

Similar protests also took place in Taranaki and Hawke's Bay on Sunday.

In Wellington on Tuesday an estimated 6000 motorcyclists filled the grounds of Parliament to vent their frustration over the extra costs.