INDEPENDENT NEWS

Huge Pay Increases Despite Proposed ACC Levy Rises

Published: Wed 12 Dec 2001 02:09 PM
10 December 2001
Huge Pay Increases Despite Proposed Rises In Self-Employed ACC Levy
“It is unconscionable that people, like self-employed builders, are being hit for rises of up to 40% in the ACC levies next year, while ACC employees are given huge pay increases,” Party Leader Graham Capill said today. Christian Heritage Party is aware of discussions from within ACC to give personnel up to a 13 per cent pay increase this year.
Party Leader Graham Capill has criticized the move, pointing out that this comes amidst a time of strike on the part of prison workers and more recently, nurses – both groups fighting for rises that are only half the percentage of the ACC rise.
Mr Capill said, “It appears that the ACC is funding its staff pay by taxing the self-employed. The government had promised that rates would either stay the same or drop, after competition was removed from the Sector. This about face hits those most important to the economy and ruins many self employed people.”
“This year there are 350,000 self employed people in New Zealand, while last year there were 224,000 according to the Department of Statistics. If ACC is raising self-employed premiums on the basis that claims have gone up by 25 percent, then why has it not taken into account the 30 percent rise in self employed numbers?” Mr Capil said.
He continued “ACC premiums are based on self-employment earning. The premium rate is also based on the level of risk in the particular industrial activity. For example, pilots pay a higher rate than builders, who pay a moderate rate. Farmers are charged at an average rate, while people like office workers pay at a relatively low rate.”
“This is an unfair system, as someone like a forestry worker will pay more than an accountant; despite the fact that there may be a marked disparity between their incomes.”
“This is all happening within a state system that gives a flat base on pension irrespective of input. ACC has admitted that last year 50 percent of claims were for non-earners – is it right that the self-employed are now forced to pick up the tab?, Mr Capill asked.
“The ACC Staff pay increase will prove a sore point for the 350,000 New Zealanders who are self-employed, and show initiative and dedication in creating employment opportunities for themselves and others,” he said.
“ACC ought to go back to a private scheme, so that the New Zealand worker gets a fair rate. It is inexcusable that such increases are contemplated at a time when staff are likely to receive pay increases far higher than other wage settlements.”
END

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