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National’s Disaster Plan To Reprivatise ACC

21 May 2002

New Zealanders would be exposed to huge financial risk under National’s plans to reprivatise ACC.

ACC Minister Lianne Dalziel said ACC under this government provides New Zealanders with good protection from the premium hikes faced by other countries.

“National’s proposal to return ACC to privatisation, strikes me as ideology triumphing over common sense. This government’s decision to bring the ACC workplace account back under the control of ACC has protected New Zealand from the financial impacts of September 11.”

Lianne Dalziel also commented on last year’s collapse of HIH Insurance in Australia – the same company that provided 40 per cent of work place cover in New Zealand during ACC’s period of privatisation under National.

“If we had not acted when we did, New Zealand would have suffered the results of the HIH collapse. The privatisation mantra provides no assurance against worldwide increase in private insurance premiums and the pressures placed on all insurers by the events of September 11.

“The collapse of HIH is only one example of the inability to spread risk which is what our ACC system does so effectively now. Australian commentators are suggesting a 24-hour no-fault scheme such as the one which works successfully in New Zealand.

“The recent collapse of Australian medical insurer United Medical Protection and the $3.8 million court-awarded compensation to an Australian who was left quadraplegic after diving into a beach sand bar when swimming between flags highlight the importance of a comprehensive scheme for accident cover. The only ones to win from a litigation-dependent compensation system, are the lawyers.

“The big losers are local and central government, the organisations and individuals with insurance to cover the increasing payouts. The other losers are those who cannot find anyone to sue. If this Australian dived into a swimming pool at home there would be no liability and no payout.

“In addition, ACC under this government has been able to reduce average rates for accident compensation from $1.20 per $100 of payroll under privatisation, to 90 cents per $100 of payroll under the current scheme.

“National’s plans to privatise ACC, will expose New Zealanders to the unfortunate events as seen in Australia recently.”


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