ACC cuts will hit Pacific families hard

Published: Wed 21 Oct 2009 05:24 PM
ACC cuts will hit Pacific families hard – what role is the Minister of Pacific Island Affairs playing?
Cutting entitlements to ACC and hiking levies will hurt Pacific Island families, many of whom have members working in high risk manual work jobs, Labour's Spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs, Luamanuvao Winnie Laban said today.
Pacific people, along with Maori, suffer a high rate of work related injuries – around 150 per 1000, due to their predominance in industries for which injury rates and claims are higher, such as manufacturing and construction.
"The cutting of ACC entitlements, along with a planned hike in levies, has the potential to be disastrous for Pacific peoples in New Zealand, particularly in situations where the sole breadwinner in the family is injured at work.
“Also, many Pacific families have little enough disposable income as it is, yet the Government's discriminatory Bill simply makes things harder for them. For instance, people who own older cars will pay higher levies than those who can afford new cars," said Ms Laban.
"Along with my colleague, Maori Affairs spokesperson Parekura Horomia, I am disheartened by the Maori Party siding with National on this legislation. They must know that Maori and Pacific families, who are over represented in the lower income brackets, will be the hardest hit by these changes.
“I am also concerned that we have heard nothing from Minister of Pacific Island Affairs Georgina te Heuheu. Her job is to represent the interests of Pacific Peoples, yet many people I have spoken to are asking if she is doing anything to take up their cause or whether she has even been consulted by Nick Smith.”

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