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Farmers Fear ACC Turnback

"The farming community is mystified as to what the Government's problem is with the current competitive accident insurance market". President of Federated Farmers, Alistair Polson, said today.

"Federated Farmers cannot understand what the Government sees wrong with individuals having the ability to choose," said Mr Polson.

"Federated Farmers will be looking hard at the Bill to see how the needs of the self-employed have been addressed," he said.

"The competitive accident insurance market has delivered real gains. For the first time, the needs of the self-employed have been met.

"Farmers have taken greater responsibility for the health and safety of their employees. Farmers and employees have together been able to capture the benefits of responsible on-farm health and safety regimes.

"Under the new scheme, the self-employed have the security of knowing that if they cannot work due to injury, their business, their families and their employees will not suffer unduly. In the past, ACC provided minimal, if any, assistance." said Mr Polson.

The competitive regime has also delivered significant cost savings compared with the ACC 1998/99 charges. Farmers have saved 30% on average . The meat industry has made savings of over $20 million.

"Any increase in charges in the transport, manufacturing and processing sectors will be passed back to farmers in the form of lower produce prices," said Mr Polson.

"New Zealand exporters operate in a harsh and distorted international environment. The country has an increasing current account deficit and I ask the Government to explain how this change will help grow the economy and create jobs," concluded Mr Polson.

ENDS

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