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Top 20 Black Caps to get reprieve from ACC levies while other player costs rise

Wednesday 18th September 2013

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The 20 highest ranked members of the Black Caps will see their Accident Compensation Corp levies almost halved under proposed changes for the coming year while domestic cricket associations and netballers face a sharp increase.

Proposed 2014/15 work levy rates, released this week, would result in a 17 percent reduction in the average rate to 95 cents for each $100 of liable earnings. But for the top 20 Black Caps, the levy would fall 43 percent to $2.31. Based on the $300,000 Fairfax Media last year estimated a good cricketer could earn per annum from retainers and match fees that would amount to a $5,100 reduction.

The top Black Caps are self-employed contractors, paying their own tax, while provincial players are paid by their associations, which in turn are funded by New Zealand Cricket.

"I'm sure they will be very happy it has dropped," said a spokesman for New Zealand Cricket. The decline didn't reflect any change in safety practices at the top levels of professional cricket, he said.

At the same time, the levy for the community cricket category, which covers all other professional players, would rise 25 percent to $2.10 per $100 of wages.

The Black Caps are set for a steep reduction because ACC has reduced their estimated risk profile, based on factors such as the number and cost of claims, a spokesman for the corporation said. The increase for community cricket reflects the fact that their levies have been capped in recent years.

Professional netball players also face an increase in the levy to $1.05, from 84 cents, which the ACC spokesman reflected "an increase in this group's claims experience."

The levies for professional rugby union and league, both sports with high injury rates, would reduce by about 12 percent to $4.81 per $100 of wages, on a par with other higher-risk sports such as motor cycling and horse racing.

ACC expects 99 percent of the 295,000 employers and self-employed people covered by the review, in 539 classification units (CUs), will get a decline in the levy in the coming year. Eight CUs face an increase.

ACC Minister Judith Collins said yesterday that the proposed changes reflect the $300 million worth of levy cuts she signalled earlier in the year, which reflected "positive gains made by the corporation across all its activities."

The proposed cuts have been welcomed by BusinessNZ chief executive Phil O'Reilly, who said better management of the ACC scheme "is starting to deliver lower premiums."

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