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Change of government

The centre-left government New Zealanders elected on Saturday will be "mildly positive" for the savings industry, Investment Savings and Insurance Association chief executive Vance Arkinstall says.

Tuesday, November 30th 1999, 12:00AM

by Philip Macalister

The centre-left government New Zealanders elected on Saturday will be "mildly positive" for the savings industry, Investment Savings and Insurance Association chief executive Vance Arkinstall says.

 

He says the change of government from National to a Labour-led coalition certainly wasn't a negative factor for the industry.

One of the biggest issues revolves around superannuation, and Labour's policy to divert 8 cents of every tax dollar into a fund to help pay for super.

Arkinstall says while a number of people don't support this policy, such a change, if implemented, would remove "some of the uncertainty which has been plaguing super for a while."

He says a positive step is Labour's plans to do a comprehensive review, and reform, of the taxation system.

Such a review provides the ISI with the opportunity to push some its major issues such as the fact than some forms of investment are disadvantaged under the current regime.

There is an upside to Labour's plans to increase the top tax rate for people earning more than $60,000 to 39 cents. Arkinstall says these people will have an incentive to put some of their money into a super fund that pays tax at 33 cents.

Arkinstall says the ISI is looking forward to working with the new government. One of the encouraging things about the coalition is that key members, including likely-treasurer Michael Cullen, have taken a strong interest in savings issues and they look like they are prepared to tackle the problems.

"I rather hope that we can get to see him quickly," Arkinstall says.

One of the biggest issues for the insurance side of the industry is the new government's plans to nationalise the workplace accident insurance market.

The Insurance Council estimates it will cost $50 million to rebuild the Accident Compensation Corporation. Additionally, if the policy proceeds, the government will write off $20 million in set up costs for @Work.

If it returns to the old ACC rates premium costs will rise by $300 million, the council predicts.

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