The politics of blame

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The politics of blame.

Those who have known me a few years will know well of the battle I have waged with our national injury prevention and compensation agency for fair and equitable treatment of Motorcyclists.

I got deeply involved in some political activity surrounding Bikers Rights, and with some good friends and help from all round the nation we organised a huge protest ride to Parliament over an unethical and unjustifiable raise in our ACC levy (to people outside my country, think Injury and Income Insurance) which was credited with holding back how high they raised the levy rates.
As it was just those grubby bikers having to cough up more fees, no one seemed to care, although we had the odd person say ‘oh how unfair’.

Our battle cry was ‘Who’s next’ ….and it was eventually proven to be everyone.
When there was not as much as a whimper from the apathetic population at the time ACC waited a few months then hit the vans, SUV’s cars, trucks,earner levies, employer levies,yet the corporation was cash rich, it had no crisis beyond the one manufactured by the National Government to justify trying to sell the corporation off to foreign insurers.

The government had suggested raising the levy on every registered motorcycle by $500. After about 9,000 angry friends of mine had a big protest on the lawns of Parliament buildings, they settled on an extra $178 or so.
But despite our warnings and cries of ‘you are next, stand by us now’ the public left us to hold the tide back alone. And they too paid the price a few months later.

Here was the minister of ACC’s response to us, the 9000 bikers on Parliaments lawns. The crowd had a great reply in store…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s802rw1WTnM

4 years on, our government in all their wisdom have this week released information crowing that this system is now 4.9 BILLION dollars in surplus funds. Stating their management of the system is to credit (remember it was billions in surplus when they created the false ‘crisis’) this wonderful turn in fortunes for this government managed state enterprise which insures our populace against injury.
They indicated they will drop all levy rates for all accounts, earners, employers, motor vehicles…oh except those dirty motorcyclists. They can keep paying the ridiculously high levy we placed on them for being (largely) victims of other road users inattention. No one will care, they didn’t the last time.

We are a minority and no one will be bothered at all with the fact we have reduced our crash rate over the years (our fleet is 4x the size it was in the 90’s and accident counts remains static).
We wear thousands of dollars of safety gear, we take on training and road education courses to attenuate the risk factor and ensure we are as skilled and as able as we can be.

The organisation I am a member of is ready to raise the visibility of this on-going fiasco again.
Our spokesperson has released a press release found here.

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=641424695891618&id=108495452517881

I as a biker, as a tax paying member of this society, enlightened, free New Zealand (Tui ad) am appalled that despite every other contributor to this communal insurance plan has had a fair slice of the pie back in reduced levy fee’s we, my fellow motorcyclists, have been ignored.

It may well be time to get back on the political activity bus again…watch this space.

StoneY

PS:
If you’re a biker, know a biker, or just want to help raise awareness of this unfair treatment of a minority of vulnerable road users, please share this blog with those who may care.
Despite the recent bad press from the  New York incident, we bikers are brothers, mothers, fathers, sisters, sons, daughters and grandkids, grandparents…we are just like you.

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15 thoughts on “The politics of blame

  1. Pingback: The politics of blame | stoneysworld

  2. Stoney, mate, as usual you hit the nail square on the head. But there is one inconsistency in your blurb…
    Surplus at the time of the bullshit rise in levies was in the order of $B14, and this year’s surplus is $B4.5. That is what the fund/s earned in one year alone. The govt and ACC are not saying what the total surplus on hand is, but you can bet that it is an OBSCENE amount.

  3. It is too obvious why all apart from bikers get a reduction. We protested. And so we are now made to suffer for creating an issue of it, for making National (our government sorry…) take a few steps backwards. But it is also a test… Was the BikeOi a one off, are the bikers capable of mustering their ranks again? They are sure we can not…

  4. I was at the last protest in Wellington, and will be at the next.
    One of my ridding mates was on his way to work last Thursday at 0540 when he was hit by a drunk disqualified driver , who was passing a truck. I bet that goes down as a motorcycle accident.

  5. Yep, we got screwed last time , as was said by Pete, motorcyclists protested & got punished. We won’t go away or forget. There is an election coming. Lets find out who rides or supports bikes.

    • At one stage I was fired up enough to start consider a Biker Party. But the reality is, that even if we all have one thing in common; bikes, that is where it starts and ends. And to try to get us to agree on a political direction is like herding cats. Even the ACC issue, that in my mind was a very clear one, was not a clear one at all. Any and all opinions from “back to how ACC was initially” to “sell ACC to someone to make it private” were supported by fractions of bikers. I think the best we could do is what you say: to find out who is supportive of bikers and biking and then make sure that the biker community knows this. It still won’t make all bikers vote for them as we all have a life outside biking that often is much more important and colours our political direction. But at least we would know who does stand for issues that are important for biking.

      • There is a bikers party, has 500 registered finacial members.
        I have also given a LOT of thought to taking that on and dedicating myself to creating a party that would stand for the working class Kiwi, one that ensures all tax levels are fair against the earner, one that ensures education health and family support agency’s have the means necessary to do the job.
        One that supports NZ industry and encourages our employers to keep jobs IN NZ, one that would stubbornly hold onto our public assets zealously, and one focused on making the dream of a stable job and a family home a reality for anyone willing to put in the 40 hour week…
        I find the left too far to the left these days, the right is wayyyy to far to the right, there is utterly nothing for the middle guy anymore.
        Touched a nerve there Pete…..
        🙂

    • Will have to get back to you on that 🙂
      It is not showing on the wiki link but no surprise, wiki is updated by public contributors.

      When I considered starting a party and talked with friends about the possibility it was pointed out to me this was already in place.
      A chap in Wainui put it together, my pals from SSR know him well. Will get you more information and post it here as soon as I have the full details. Yet another ‘on my must do’ lists……

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