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Labour Wraps Tax Rise For Christmas

Labour Wraps Tax Rise For Christmas

Labour's Christmas present to motorists is the news that petrol prices will rise to cover an increase in the ACC motor vehicle levy, ACT New Zealand ACC Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"This is nothing more than a revenue rort that does not withstand close scrutiny. Increased revenue from petrol tax will supposedly pay for the rising costs of road injuries and deaths - such as hospitals and rehabilitation. This, however, does not add up. The number of weekly ACC claimants drawing from the motor vehicle account has dropped by more than 1,000 in the past five years, following a recent claimant purge. And ACC's motor vehicle account has run underlying net surpluses of more than $100 million a year before claim revaluation adjustments and changes in accounting treatments.

"The Government calls the increase a way to cover rising health costs for road accident victims. Labour party polling shows this is the most acceptable excuse - yet my questions to the Minister reveal these costs are not rising significantly.

"ACC's problems are actually due to the revaluation of the future cost of Social Rehabilitation which, over the next 30 years, will cost $858 million rather than $696 million. ACC's annual accounts this year show this is an estimate of future costs, based on assumptions that Social Rehabilitation costs will rise 20 percent annually.

"The resulting difference in future social costs of $162 million has simply been deducted from this year's operating surplus, providing a convenient deficit and an excuse to raise petrol tax. A change in accounting treatment increased this deficit by a further $50 million.

"The Government has hiked the bill for taxpayers without providing any good reason. Either Labour is inept and going along with ACC's purported need for more money - or has this been the Government plan always been to increase petrol tax, and the consultation merely cosmetic," said Mrs Roy.

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