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…..
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.
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.
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.