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Bikoi crowd chants clear message against fee rise

Nov 17th, 2009 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

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MOBILE PROTEST: The bikoi descends on Parliament. PHOTO: Bonnie Tai.

By Ruby Armstrong-Kooy & Bonnie Tai

THOUSANDS of motorcycle enthusiasts chanted their ACC protest across Parliament grounds at lunchtime yesterday.

Protest organiser Brent Hutchison estimates that more than 5000 motorcyclists from across the country turned out for the Bikeoi (motorbike hikoi) against higher ACC fees.

One of the biggest changes the Government proposes to the ACC scheme is a 300% increase on motorcycle and moped registration.

“[The Government] are adding an extra thousand dollars to my motoring budget for unjustifiable causes,” Mr Hutchison says. “That’s just not on…we’re here to say no.”

ACC Minister Nick Smith came outside and was booed by the crowd. Protest leaders accompanied him back to the Beehive for a discussion.

In a statement earlier today, Dr Smith said the”scale of ACC’s financial problems means levy increases across the board are inevitable”.

He hoped to work with motorcycle groups to  put a portion of the levy towards road safety programmes targeted at injury prevention.

“We need to work together on reversing the awful trend in motorcycle fatalities and injury.”

A bikeoi participant who rode into Wellington from Taranaki, Ray Pickard, says the proposed increases unfairly target bikers.

“If we were talking about the colour of people, it would be racial prejudice,” he says. “This is motorbike prejudice being helped by the Government.”

The Ulysses Club was one of the many motorcycle groups taking part in the protest. President Peter McIntosh says there appears to be no consideration that more than half of motorcycle accidents are caused by cars.

Mr McIntosh says motorcycling is a lifestyle. “Nothing will put us off motorcycling – this will make it a lot more difficult to do, though.”

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

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