Safer cars, cheaper ACC levies under new proposal

When the ACC scheme was introduced in the 1970s, New Zealanders gave away their right to sue for personal injury. Photo / File
When the ACC scheme was introduced in the 1970s, New Zealanders gave away their right to sue for personal injury. Photo / File

Kiwi motorists opting for safer cars may soon be paying less than $100 a year in injury levies.

Proposed changes to ACC's levy scheme would see private passenger vehicles categorised according to their safety rating.

Safety ratings would be based on a system, developed by Melbourne's Monash University, that rates vehicles on how well they protect occupants from harm in the event of a crash.

Currently, owners of petrol-powered passenger vehicles pay $198.65 to ACC. This amount excludes the petrol levy. Those with diesel cars pay $321.59.

Under the proposed scheme - which, if approved, would cover the 2014/15 financial year - owners with petrol-powered passenger vehicles deemed to be in the lowest "risk rating group'' would pay $98.65. Non-petrol powered passenger vehicles in this group would require a levy of $222.53.

This would account for 750,000 vehicles in New Zealand, ACC figures showed.

Owners of petrol passenger vehicles with the highest risk rating would have to pay $198.65. The levy for non-petrol powered vehicles in this category would be $321.59.

About 30,000 vehicles would not fit into any of the four risk rating groups and owners would be charged a set levy of $150.52 for petrol vehicles, and $274.40 for non-petrol.

The AA's Mark Stockdale said the proposed changes could be an incentive for motorists to buy better quality cars within their budget.

However, one major downfall was the small number of risk rating categories, he said.

"There may be people who have intentionally bought a safer vehicle, but because of its age, it actually gets put in one of the less safe categories by ACC.

"In other countries, the levies are tailored to the individual make and model, and sometimes even engine size,'' Mr Stockdale said.

Despite this, any savings for motorists which could possibly translate into improved road safety would be a bonus.

Other levy changes proposed by ACC include a 17 per cent decrease in the average work levy paid by employers and self-employed people, and a 15 per cent decrease in the earners' levy - which is paid by all those in the workforce.

According, to ACC documents, the proposed decrease in rates was due to levy accounts being ahead of expected levels.

Motorcycle and moped riders would not see any decrease in their levies due to a comparative increase in claims and costs from this group of motorists.

For more information on the proposed changes, go to www.acc.co.nz/levyconsultation.

Public submissions close on October 15.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n4 at 20 Sep 2014 14:14:30 Processing Time: 617ms