Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Select Committee's recommendation heralds new era

“The ACC Select Committee’s recommendation to Parliament to pass the Accident Insurance (Transitional Provisions) Bill opens the way for the rebuilding of a new social insurance scheme where injury prevention and the needs of injured people come first,” says Associate ACC Minister Ruth Dyson.

“That has not been the case in the past and it certainly is not the case at present, where insurance company profits and employer costs are driving the schemes.

Ms Dyson outlines the key features of the new public scheme in an address to the Industrial Relations Conference for 2000 in Wellington today, as well as responding to the opponents of the planned changes.

“Injury prevention will be the primary objective and role for the scheme. Where an industry is driving a good safety and health message, the Government will support it. If it isn’t, our intention is to provide the tools and the resources – and the financial incentives – to build it,” says Ms Dyson.

“Removal of points of litigation is vital in rebuilding integrity in ACC. The definition of accident will be broadened – any argument delays rehabilitation and a potential return to work. It is simply common sense to address the injury as a primary consideration rather than the cause.

“The next key function of the corporation must be rehabilitation. In the Government’s new scheme there will be social and vocational rehabilitation as well as medical rehabilitation. It must start early, it must have the active cooperation of employers, and the aim must be to return to the maximum degree of bodily health, social independence and vocational ability in the minimum of time.

“Too often in the past, people have been turfed off ACC prematurely to save corporate costs. The priorites are about to be reversed.

“It must be accepted that, without the right to sue, compensation must be fair. Current levels of earnings-related compensation will be retained but we will also be reintroducing a fair and sustainable lump sum compensation arrangement for those who receive serious injuries.

"The funding of the scheme has been the area of the most shallow public debate. The main problems in the past have been caused by political interference. Lack of transparency and volatility in the levy setting has caused, justifiably, the biggest concerns. This is the last thing that I believe that New Zealand employers want, deserve or need.

"This is a real opportunity for employers who follow best practice to be involved in driving its rebuilding. It is an opportunity for employees to share in the responsibility for their health and safety management, in partnership with their employers, with legislative back-up. And it is an opportunity for us all to address seriously the injuries that impair and kill so many of our citizens," says Ms Dyson.

The main issues raised through submissions to the Select Committee were:
 Reduced levels of employer premiums
 Under-reporting of work-related accidents
 Restrictions on accident insurance coverage
 Different interpretations of evidence from overseas.

"The majority of members on the committee are satisfied that concerns about premium levels will be allayed when employers consider the average premium rates they will pay over the longer term," says Ms Dyson.

"Evidence suggesting widespread under-reporting of accidents points to a fundamental weakness in the private model. This will be addressed in the new public scheme.

"Listening to all of the arguments on overseas experience, we are satisfied that, on balance, the evidence supports public schemes over private schemes.

"Some groups, such as the Insurance Council, presented information to the committee which, on close scrutiny, seemed designed more to grab the headlines than reflect reality.

"The majority of the committee is strongly of the view that the new public scheme will deliver a fairer, more effective and more cost efficient scheme," says Ms Dyson.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>


Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election