Pressure on Key and English to stop dicking around with the budget

ACC levies have been kept artificially high for longer to close the government’s shortfall due to poor dairy returns.

ACC levies paid by employers and employees should be cut, the Labour Party says.

From April 1 the ACC Work Account levy will drop from 95 cents per $100 of earnings to 90c.

But ACC itself recommended it be cut to 75c and said the Earners’ Account levy, paid by employees, should be reduced to $1.20 from $1.26, Labour says.

An independent report by Infometrics found these levies could sustainably be reduced even further, saving businesses $350 million a year.

“We estimate that funding ratios consistent with the ACC targets could be achieved with levy rates of $1.14 for the Earners’ Account and 69c for the Work Account from April 1, 2015.”

This would create 660 to 700 jobs and boost the economy by $70M, it said.

“It’s clear this government is in a desperate struggle to get to surplus and Bill English is willing to make New Zealanders pay more than they should to get there,” Labour leader Andrew Little says.

“ACC is more than fully funded. It’s time to give Kiwis a fair go.”

Mr Little said he would work with businesses to put pressure on National to cut ACC levies back to where they belong.

“The Government has got it wrong and every small business owner knows it. National is cutting jobs and growth when it should be cutting ACC levies,” he said.

The problem with playing these games for their own sake is that it opens up a chance for opposition parties, even inept ones like Labour, to start sounding all sensible and business friendly.

There would be less damage to National to say we missed the surplus by $450m due to poor dairy returns than playing silly buggers with the numbers and then giving Angry Andy Little a bin by calling for reductions in ACC levies across the board that are likely to boost the economy.

The government has got it wrong, and every small business owner knows why. ?It won’t be enough to change their vote, but in politics, death by a 1000 cuts is done a cut at a time. ?No point handing the blade willingly to your opponent.

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