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Government MPs ignore people’s views on ACC Bill

Gerry Brownlee
Opposition ACC Spokesperson

Government MPs have turned their backs on the concerns of tens of thousands of New Zealanders with the select committee report to Parliament on the controversial ACC changes, Opposition ACC spokesperson Gerry Brownlee said today.

“The select committee could not agree on a unanimous report back to Parliament on the Bill.

“National MPs on the select committee have been listening closely to the submissions and could not sign up to a select committee report that recommended the Bill proceed. We have tabled a minority report on the Bill.

“National MPs will vigorously oppose the Bill as it stands as it makes its way through the House.

“We will not ignore the concerns from churches, the IHC, Plunket, small and medium employers and the many New Zealanders who think the Government is making a big mistake with the ACC changes.

“We have taken a position to support the overwhelming majority of submissions that were either in whole or in part opposed to the progress of the bill.

“Only 7 per cent of the 1,057 submissions supported the bill.

“We are also very concerned that the select committee did not have enough time to consider the bill, or the huge number of submissions fully.

“We agree with the many submitters who suggested that the current arrangements should be allowed to run for another two years.”

Key points on the Bill in the minority report

 Purpose
There is overwhelming evidence to the committee to continue with the existing regime.

There is little evidence that a single publicly funded model will be any better in the future than it has been in the past

 ACC arrangements with insurers
Clause 6 The proposed arrangements raise questions about obligations for accidents that occurred during the period up to April1. We contend that the corporation should acquire for an agreed sum, the obligations undertaken by private insurers.

 No Compensation
Clause 8 We have concerns that New Zealand’s international business reputation could be damaged by the clause which states no compensation is payable to those who suffer various losses as a result of the enactment and operation of the Act. Those who entered the private insurance market did so under the law of the day and in good faith.

 Rates of premiums
Section 218 ACC needs to develop more sophisticated methods of invoicing for premiums where employers face difficulties with seasonal workforces.

 Industry classifications
We are pleased the select committee has agreed with the National Party that individual risk rating for businesses is far better for constructing fair premiums than the old industry classifications.

 Accredited Employers
We are concerned at the lack of information and framework for how the new accredited employers programme will operate. The previous Accredited Employers Programme clearly demonstrated that employers enjoy having a direct relationship between the cost of their premiums and the workplace safety provisions. Such a scheme should proceed with the passing of this Bill.

Copy of minority report attached

ENDS

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