ACC, petrol price hikes hit work­ing mum

Whangarei Report - - FRONT PAGE -

Sin­gle mum Jas­mine Donel­ley drives around in a small car clean­ing houses for a liv­ing and a hike in mo­tor ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion levy and fuel tax will hit her hard.

She said the Ac­ci­dent Com­pen­sa­tion Cor­po­ra­tion’s jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to hike the charges was a “cop out “that would make life harder for not just strug­gling fam­i­lies but the work­ing class as well.

Her com­ments fol­lowed a pro­posal by ACC to in­crease the av­er­age mo­tor ve­hi­cle levy for road users by 12.1 per cent, from $113.95 to $127.68 each year, and an in­crease in tax of 1.9 cen­tre per litre for petrol.

ACC is blam­ing the pro­posed rise on higher med­i­cal costs re­lat­ing to road ac­ci­dents.

Since 2016 when the ACC levy on mo­tor ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion went down, the num­ber of over­all claims for in­juries had grown by 6.4 per cent.

Pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on the pro­posed levy changes will run un­til Oc­to­ber 25.

Donel­ley can’t af­ford rent and has been liv­ing in a car­a­van at the Springs Flat Car­a­van Park, just north of Whanga¯ rei, for just over a year.

“I am strug­gling to keep on top of my bills and now more for petrol and ve­hi­cle rego. It’s ridicu­lous. It will mean strug­gling peo­ple will strug­gle more,” she said.

“I spend on av­er­age $80 a week on petrol be­cause I travel a lot as part of my work. Every fort­night, I drive to Maun­gatu¯ roto for work so I can eas­ily use a whole tank in a week.

“It’s not just me that’s go­ing to be hard-hit. I can vouch for any­body liv­ing in a car­a­van park but most of them are work­ing, and hav­ing to pay more for trans­port will hit their pock­ets hard.”

Donel­ley said there were other ways ACC could re­cover higher costs rather than mak­ing life more dif­fi­cult for strug­gling fam­i­lies.

Whanga¯ rei Bud­get­ing Ser­vices co-or­di­na­tor Dianne Clarke said in­creased petrol and trans­port costs, it they come into ef­fect, would be just an­other bur­den on poor fam­i­lies. “A lot of fam­i­lies, in­clud­ing work­ing peo­ple, are go­ing to strug­gle if they have to pay more and with min­i­mum wage $16.50 an hour, it just doesn’t cut it.”

She said peo­ple were al­ready pay­ing be­tween $40 and $50 a week for petrol on top of park­ing charges. “We’ve al­ready seen a lot of clients who have un­reg­is­tered ve­hi­cles be­cause they sim­ply can’t af­ford to have them reg­is­tered. Then they get fined $200,” Clarke said.

ACC is ex­pect­ing 110 se­ri­ous in­jury cases each year for 2019 and 2020, with an es­ti­mated life­time cost of $164 mil­lion every year.

ACC also an­nounced it would lower the av­er­age work ac­count levy for em­ploy­ers from 72 cents to 67 cents for every $100 earned.

How­ever, the earn­ers’ levy for work­ers will rise from $1.21 to $1.24 for every $100 earned.

“Ex­pe­ri­ence tells us that dur­ing times of eco­nomic growth such as we have ex­pe­ri­enced over the last few years, peo­ple tend to lead more ac­tive lives, ex­pos­ing them­selves to greater risk,” ACC chair­woman Dame Paula Reb­stock said. In the past two years, she said ACC had cov­ered costs for more than 30,400 road ac­ci­dents a 9 per cent in­crease from 2016.

In 2015, the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment agreed to $450 mil­lion of ACC levy re­duc­tions across mo­tor ve­hi­cle, work and earn­ers’ levies.

The av­er­age mo­tor ve­hi­cle levy de­creased by 33 per cent, from $194.25 to $130.26 per ve­hi­cle.

The av­er­age work levy paid by busi­nesses re­duced by 11 per cent to 80c per $100 of earn­ings, and the earn­ers’ levy, paid by ev­ery­one in the paid work­force, de­creased by 4 per cent to $1.21 per $100 earned.

PHOTO / JOHN STONE

Sin­gle mum Jas­mine Donel­ley will be among those hard hit by a pro­posed in­crease in ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion levy.

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