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Return The $200 Million

10 December 2000

Federated Farmers is asking the Minister of Finance to order the Inland Revenue Department and ACC to restore up to $200 million in wrongly charged ACC levies.

The incorrect levies were a result of 20 years of misinterpretation of ACC legislation and bungling by ACC and IRD cumulating in ACC misusing the 1998 ACC Act to knowingly double charge employers.

"The money was incorrectly taken, and it should be returned," said Federated Farmers President Alistair Polson today.

"This is a bureaucratic bungle, with two different Government agencies interpreting the law differently, and telling the affected businesspeople two different stories. Overall, the Government is at fault, and it has money it should not have."

"The Minister of Finance, who speaks of a partnership with business, is treating his 'partner' with a very cold shoulder."

"Dr Cullen is loftily fobbing of legitimate requests for help by telling the federation that those New Zealanders affected can go and sue their accountants and lawyers, knowing that the cost of such action for individuals is prohibitive."

"The Government may be relying on the $200 million to help ACC look good, but if it has any sense of moral leadership, it would take the appropriate action and fix this problem."

"Dr Cullen refuses to direct ACC to re-examine its actions, leaving it up to individual employers to go through ACC's appeal system."

"This is not the action of a Government that cares about the business sector, beyond its ability to provide revenue."

ENDS For further information: Alistair Polson 025-370-085 Gavin Forrest 03-366-8415

A full briefing paper is available from Gavin Forrest or http://www.fedfarm.org.nz/public/ACC_Briefing.html

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