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Farmers chuffed at proposed ACC levies

Media Release

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17 September 2013

Farmers chuffed at proposed ACC levies

ACC’s proposed levies for 2014/15 has received the thumbs-up from Federated Farmers.  Yet with ACC levies still needing political sign-off, Federated Farmers is asking if the time has come to remove politicians from levy decision-making.

“The proposed levies for 2014/15 is potentially good news for farmers and should save them hundreds of dollars each year, especially if they are employers as well,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers ACC spokesperson.

“From our perspective, the performance of ACC has jumped up a few notches over recent years.  From the performance of its investments to getting people fit for work, it seems to be getting the mix right.

“While we farmers may work in one of the highest risk groups, at last, we are seeing an improved safety record over the past five years for dairy, beef and sheep farmers translate into lower proposed levies.

“One thing we will be watching closely is to ensure any cut to levies doesn’t shift the goal posts of entitlement when farmers need to claim.  This must be from a more efficient ACC rather than chalking up accidental injuries as just the ‘wear and tear’ of being alive. 

“Admittedly 2012/13 did see an increase in farming claims and costs of claims, but the levies are based on a five year rolling average and that measure is more stable.  It is good that ACC is sending farmers the solid message that improved safety is good for the bottom line.

“That will lock in good behaviour because if our safety record does go south, then higher levies will be the result.  It is in our hands as an industry to guard against this.

“So if the politicians do tick off ACC’s proposed levies the work account levies for pastoral farming should be cut by around 20 percent.  The earner account levy is also proposed to be cut by 15 percent.

“Having politicians ultimately saying yay or nay sticks in my craw. You must ask why ACC is required to go first by the Minister and then Cabinet to get its levies signed-off when we don’t do that with the Official Cash Rate, medicines or even the price of a stamp.

“All Kiwis benefit from a well run and focused ACC; just look at the proposed 15 percent cut in the motor vehicle account average levy that will save $50.68. 

“ACC is now researching the safety performance of car makes and models with a view to bringing in different levy rates based on four ‘bands’.  It is this kind of innovation that tells me the time has come for it to have political independence for levy setting,” Ms Milne concluded.

ENDS

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