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Govt Must Take Heed Of ACC Submissions

National ACC spokesperson Gerry Brownlee slammed the Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation Bill during its first reading in the House today.

He labelled the 305-page bill completely inadequate, inflexible and one that fails to give New Zealanders a choice.

"The bill as presented to the House would do little to improve income protection or rehabilitation for injured New Zealanders, despite the Government's claims.

"The Government will never surely know if the cost of injuries are at a reasonable level simply because there is no competition. There is a role for Government in accident insurance, but it doesn't have to be central in the delivery of it."

On lump sum payments Mr Brownlee pledged that National will go into the select committee process with an open mind.

He rejected the idea that one-off lump sum payments would be a satisfactory outcome for all claimants, particularly for those who qualify for the top pay out of $100,000.

"What happens if someone in a wheelchair is injured again? Answers will often lie in messy and drawn-out court battles to try to determine whether there will be a second payment.

"Full and final settlements may seem great when the cheque arrives, but when the money runs out or another injury is incurred the consequences could be ugly.

"There are many parts of the bill which need to be closely scrutinised. The challenge for the Government next year will be to actually listen to the wide and invaluable contributions that will come before the select committee.

"The Government's pig-headed and ideologically-driven attitudes toward ACC must stop. Taking notice of the many genuine ACC concerns must be its New Year's resolution," Mr Brownlee said.


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