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Premium Hike A Blow To Self-Employed Farmers

5 August 2004

Premium Hike A Blow To Self-Employed Farmers

Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) is dismayed that the ACC is proposing a further 12 percent increase in levies for self-employed farmers, said FFNZ Vice President Charlie Pedersen.

"If approved by ACC's board and the government, the latest increase will take the total rise in premiums for self-employed farmers over three years to 74 percent -- which cannot be justified," he said.

In 2002/3 a self employed farmer earning $50,000 a year paid $750 to the ACC. But in 2005/6 that payment will be a whopping $1305.

ACC says the levy rise reflects the cost of injuries in the farming sector, which will reduce only as self-employed farmers get better at preventing injuries.

Federated Farmers has always been aware that farmers need to work on improving prevention of accidents -- and farmers have been.

Ten thousand farmers have attended Farmsafe courses -- a joint initiative between ACC, Federated Farmers and other agricultural organisations -- over the last 18 months. Farmsafe focuses on the practical management of workplace safety on farms.

"The problem here is that ACC is a protected monopoly so we have nothing to measure it against. Farmers would rather be able to pick and choose their workplace accident insurance provider in a competitive market," Mr Pedersen said.

ENDS

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