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Jim Anderton's Speech To The ACC Biker's Rally In Christchurch

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Jim Anderton
Jim Anderton

Hon Jim Anderton

Member of Parliament for Wigram Progressive Leader

14 November 2009 Speech notes ACC Bikers' rally

12 noon The Square, Christchurch

One of my staff was at a community function the other day at Southwards Car Museum on the Kapiti Coast, and he came across a leaflet calling all motorcyclists to get in touch with their local club, and it had the contact details of every club in the area.

It struck him that New Zealand motorcyclists are some of the most well-organised and determined community groups in New Zealand. If anyone can save our ACC scheme - you can.

Let's be clear about one thing; New Zealand has the best accident compensation scheme in the world.

It's not broken, so why try and fix it; and no matter what Nick Smith and his friend Mr Smiley the Prime Minister try to tell you - it's not broke. It has reserves of money.

It has over $11 billion of reserves, and last year it collected $1 billion more in levies, than it spent on claims.

But you will be broke if the National government has its way; Nick Smith wants you to pay three times as much in ACC levies as you are paying today.

Today motorcyclists are paying about $252. Tomorrow you'll be paying $735.

This is outrageous. And it is completely unnecessary - because ACC can pay its bills without making you pay three times as much.

ACC was set up as a no-fault system to be run by a government-owned corporation so that everyone who has an accident gets looked after, and at a lower cost than overseas.

It was never intended to penalise certain groups that it saw as 'high risk' - otherwise where do you stop?

If its bikers today, why not old people who are more likely to fall over than anyone else; why not 6 year boys who play rugby and are more likely to get hurt than kids playing chess?

The point of the scheme was to avoid this situation, and draw on the overall resources of the whole community. So we all pay a bit, and no one is seriously disadvantaged.

Every one avoids the very large lawyers' bills and insurance company profits that have to be paid under a private insurance system.

Instead of spending years in court trying to get compensation for an accident that might not have been your fault, you get the money when you need it so you can get back to work as soon as possible.

All New Zealanders gave up the right to sue under this system, in return for the fair treatment of injured people.

So what is the National government on about?

Why is it scaremongering about out of control costs, and making people like you pay more? It's playing dirty with the figures.

It's insisting that all imagined accidents in the future should be paid right now by people like you. But this wasn't what ACC was set up to do. It was always intended to be a 'pay as you go' scheme.

That means the levies received in any one year, pay for the accidents in that year. And that system has been working fine - in fact ACC has even managed to put aside reserves for the future.

The real agenda here, is to set up ACC for a gradual return to a privately run insurance scheme. Scaremongering about costs is just the Trojan horse.

And inside the Trojan horse is a bunch of lawyers and foreign insurance companies, licking their lips and looking forward to getting their hands on your levies!

I am entirely opposed to any private scheme. And I totally reject the National government's attempt to make bikers pay three times as much.

Have Nick Smith and John Key forgotten that bikers use less petrol, create less pollution and cause less congestion? Nearly two-thirds of accidents involving motorbikes are caused by cars.

People on push bikes have a high number of accidents (often not their own fault either) - So what's next? Are cyclists on John Key's new cycle pathway going to have to pay huge ACC levies too?

None of it makes sense. I will keep fighting to save our ACC system which doesn't differentiate between any New Zealander, whether they ride a motorbike or peddle a push bike.

I'm proud of our commitment to be the best, low-cost accident compensation system in the world where the cost is shared between us all, and we all get the help we need when we need it.

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