National stiffs us for $180 million | The Jackal

5 Aug 2014

National stiffs us for $180 million

The National party really does appear to be quite desperate for some good news at the moment to subdue the party faithful. Unfortunately for them, and because of their dysfunctional administration, the numerous cases of their incompetence being reported in the media recently looks set to dash National’s hopes for re-election.

Earlier today, the government announced:

ACC Minister Judith Collins today announced reductions to motor vehicle levies in 2015/16 meaning the average New Zealand vehicle owner will be $135 better off each year.

“Earlier this year the Government signalled our intention to reduce ACC levies as part of Budget 2014 – today’s announcement delivers on this,” Ms Collins says.

“ACC continues to improve its financial situation, transforming the way it supports injured New Zealanders and building on its investment returns.”

Judith Collins also tweeted:

That all sounds fine and dandy doesn’t it? However, the National led government could have reduced levies a lot earlier than 2015/16 if they’d only followed official advice.

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

NZ workers and businesses denied $180m in ACC levy cuts

New Zealand workers and businesses are to be denied almost $180 million in ACC levy cuts next year as recommended by the corporation, leaving it with an embarrassment of riches.

The Government has set aside the Accident Compensation Corporation's recommendation that workers and businesses receive $658 million in levy cuts next year, instead cutting them by $480 million as indicated at the Budget.

The smaller cuts were confirmed by Prime Minister John Key at an Auckland Chamber of Commerce luncheon today.

"It comes on top of previous ACC levy reductions of close to $1 billion that we announced in 2011/12," he said.

"These levy reductions are possible because of a number of factors - good management of ACC and favourable economic factors sustained over a number of years.

By “good management of ACC” Key actually means the tougher regime that has ensured many thousands of claimants have been unfairly denied ACC support. That's where most of the additional money has come from. The governments requirement for ACC to dismiss claimants, especially long term ones, has also resulted in a huge increase in court cases, prompting National to try and remove people’s right to have their cases heard in a court of law.

National’s decision to not follow the recommendation isn’t just going to cause ACC a headache in terms of what to do with all that extra cash, the government is also ensuring the general public is being charged a lot more for a lot longer than they really need to be.

This type of fiscal mismanagement isn’t going to be rewarded by voters at the upcoming election. Clearly National should have given people some financial relief, which for those on low incomes could have made all the difference in the world.