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Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation Bill

Media release from the Alliance Party

Community Responsibility Restored in Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation Bill

Willie Jackson Alliance MP - 11 Sept 2001

Today we go a step further to restoring fair public accident compensation. In the select committee we heard many horror stories of how badly people with injuries were treated by the privatised system put in place by the last government. This new system is based on community responsibility. A responsible government doesn't shy away from taking responsibility for looking after its citizens. For the Alliance and Mana Motuhake restoring public responsibility is the key part of this bill.

This is a day when the government is stepping in to sort out the mess Air New Zealand has got itself into after it was privatised. This is in fact a year where the government has had to step in to sort out a long list of privatisation and deregulation failures in key strategic industries. Every sector of the economy has suffered. In the past year this government has had to step in to sort out the railways, the electricity industry and now Air New Zealand.

I can hardly believe the opposition have the gall to stand up today in the house in the face of such huge privatisation failures and suggest that we should have stuck with their privatisation of public accident compensation.

Under their system injured and sick people were not even informed of their entitlements for compensation. And why would they be. A private company isn't driven by social justice, it's driven by profit. It's true that the government could have made a law that informing claimants of their entitlements was a priority. But they didn't did they. And so people weren't treated fairly. And the structure of the system wasn't fair to start with.

Under National's system you had a whole lot of private insurers all doing different things but none of them doing anything about injury prevention. They couldn't even work together to prevent their own accidents and set up a disputes resolution process.

This Bill covers the issues in a responsible way by addressing not only injury rehabilitation but injury prevention. That includes prevention at work, in the home, on the sports field and in the community. Injury prevention programs are the first step.

This government will improve the rehabilitation and compensation for those injured because it is our responsibility to do so as a government that works in the interests of the community. Just like the Alliance and Mana Motuhake believe it is our responsibility to be involved in, and to guide, key strategic industries in this country, like railways, electricity and airways.


ENDS

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