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ACT Circulates Discussion Paper On Options For ACC

ACT Deputy Leader and Accident Insurance Spokesman Ken Shirley today released a discussion paper outlining options for the future operation of accident insurance and is seeking public comment on the options raised.

“The discussion document - ‘The Way Forward – Issues and Options’ - emphasises ACT’s commitment to overcome the inherent inefficiency of ACC that has beleaguered New Zealand for over 25 years.

“We do have firm ideas about the future direction for accident insurance in this country.

“However we believe we have a duty to discuss widely the options available before setting our final policy. This is a vastly different approach to the Labour-Alliance Government, which restored a state monopoly to accident insurance on strictly ideological grounds without consultation.

“We believe that government should not own insurance companies. Doing so undermines competition, puts taxpayers at risk, removes choices from consumers and makes them vulnerable to frequent changes in political opinion.

“ACT favours the abolition of the Accident Compensation Corporation, with accident insurance placed in the hands of private insurers. We believe the role of government should be limited to overseeing a regulatory framework, which encourages competition and the efficient provision of accident insurance services.

“Twenty-five years of modifications to the ACC scheme have failed to overcome the fundamental problems of statutory monopoly and lack of incentives to improve service. The ACC position as a government-owned monopoly provider and the imposition of mandatory coverage virtually ensures that New Zealand accident insurance arrangements are inefficient. The Corporation is insulated from normal commercial pressures. It cannot provide individual preference for risk or level of cover because it is required to provide the same level of cover to everyone. There is no choice.

“We believe the discussion paper puts the historic failings of ACC in this country in perspective and fully canvasses the options going forward. We look forward to receiving comments on the document and the policy options. The deadline for comments is January 31, 2001. After we have considered all the comments we will be releasing ACT’s official ACC policy in February,” Mr Shirley said.


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