Motorists face stiff ACC levy rises

Motorists face yet another petrol price rise as well as hefty vehicle registration fee increases from next week, to cover the spiralling cost of treating road-crash victims.

The Automobile Association (AA), although pleased Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) premium increases for owners of petrol vehicles will be split equally between fuel consumption and registration fees, is upset at the size of the rises.

Oil companies say they will have to pass on to customers an increase of 2.01c on the existing petrol levy to 9.34c a litre plus GST, although it is unclear whether they will all move as soon as new ACC fees come into force on Tuesday.

The levy rise will be on top of a $28.26 rise to $211.48 in registration fees for petrol vehicles.

Because there is no accident levy on diesel or alternative fuels, owners of non-petrol cars face a steeper increase of $55.23 in their registration fees - of almost 25%, to $336.69.

Owners of petrol motorcycles will have to pay $42.93 more to register their machines, on top of the fuel levy, because of their higher risk of injury on the roads.

The Bikers Rights Organisation says this is unfair, as it believes most serious injuries to motorcyclists are caused by collisions with heavier vehicles.

Registration fees for six to 12-tonne diesel trucks will rise by $58.38 to $417.38.

ACC says the levy rises are necessary to cover rising treatment costs for the increasing number of victims who survive crashes but are left with serious injuries.

It expects the average cost of treating a car crash victim with moderate or serious injuries to rise from $44,189 to more than $50,000 this year.

ACC Minister Maryan Street said last night the cost could exceed $20 million for the remaining lives of people left tetraplegic from road crashes.

The ACC had seven such people in its care, including two who were injured this year.

"These claims can require more than 30 years' assistance from ACC, so small changes in costs multiplied by 30 years of care can add a substantial amount to the cost of claims that must be collected in the levies," she said.

"And it is all collected at once, in the year of the accident."

But the AA says a corporation target of raising enough money by 2014 to pay off old accident claims is too ambitious, as that will account for 71% of next week's levy rises.

"The current approach causes great inequity between generations, with one generational group bearing both the costs for the past and the future," it said in a submission to the corporation.

AA spokesman Mike Noon said although his organisation supported shifting more of the total accident levy over time to fuel prices, to make people driving greater distances pay for the extra risk involved, it was pleased the corporation had agreed to an even split for the latest increase for petrol vehicles.

Raising the petrol levy alone would have increased pump prices by 4c, compounding current hardship. - The New Zealand Herald

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