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Farmers' ACC Payments Jump 21% On Saturday

Federated Farmers President Alistair Polson said today that farmers will be furious and disillusioned at the 21% increase in their accident insurance bills from the new Government monopoly ACC.

"Farmers will be bitterly disappointed by this jump in their ACC cost. The Government promised that the average ACC rate would be lower than under the previous competitive market," Mr Polson said.

"The Government made a promise that ACC's costs would be cheaper, and the new ACC's performance would be better than in the past. Neither has proved to be true for farmers."

"Another frustration is that ACC's new Self-employed package that allows farmers to purchase guaranteed weekly compensation is still not ready.

"Self-employed businesspeople will receive the old, second class, accident insurance coverage from ACC, and are highly unlikely to receive weekly compensation."

Federated Farmers advises self-employed farmers to seriously consider buying income top-up insurance from the private sector.

The new ACC farming rate has increased by 21% over the rates available from the private sector, moving from $1.88 per $100 of wages or salary, to $2.28.

Farmers should have received their information packs this week. The federation has been monitoring the insurance market, and considers that the insurance companies were happy with their rates, and forecasting further reductions.

"Rural employers have no defence against this monopoly charging. Only the lack of competition enables this unjustified extraction of funds from rural New Zealand. This jump could not have happened under a competitive market."

"Is this is a repeat of the December 1995 45% increase that was later found to be unjustified, and reduced the next year. If so, farmers can't have much confidence in the continued performance of the new ACC organisation."

"This increase will only further erode confidence in the new Government," concluded Mr Polson.

ENDS

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