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Insurance Council Stamps Foot, Won't Play - Govt

"The Insurance Council has got to decide whether it wants to come to the table and have a mature discussion about the ACC reforms or sulk in its room with the door slammed shut," Accident Insurance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

Dr Cullen was commenting on the Council's refusal to meet ACC chief executive Garry Wilson to discuss what opportunities there might be within the new ACC regime for the insurance companies.

"I arranged for ACC to make that offer after the Council said it wanted to enter negotiations with the Government on the proposed reforms. But the Council refused it on the grounds that its position on the issue was "fixed" and that it wanted to "continue to strongly oppose" the legislation.

"In other words, it wants to wage war with the Government over a policy that we have an electoral mandate for. That is arrogant and anti-democratic," Dr Cullen said.

"It is also counter-productive. The Government has made it clear that we want to expand the accredited employer programme and that there may be a role in it for the private sector insurance industry.

"Surely the Council would be more constructively employed trying to influence Government thinking in that area rather than sulking and stamping its feet," Dr Cullen said.

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