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Workplace safety wins under National

25 August 2005

Workplace safety wins under National

National Party Leader Don Brash says workplace safety will be the big winner from National's ACC policy, which re-introduces competition to workplace insurance.

Dr Brash announced the policy in Dunedin today.

"National believes in a fair, comprehensive provision of accident compensation for all Kiwis, and that means giving employers the right to choose a workplace insurer that best suits their needs.

"We will open up the accident insurance market so private insurers can compete for business with ACC. Both employers and the self-employed will have a choice of retaining ACC as their insurer or going private.

"There will be no change in cover. National is fully committed to the no-fault, 24-hour accident compensation scheme, as it has existed since 1972.

"But we need a scheme that provides incentives to prevent accidents, minimises risk-taking, encourages workplace safety, and encourages early diagnosis, active case management and early rehabilitation.

"A competitive market means employers who invest in safety will be rewarded through lower premiums because they will be able to negotiate based on their good record. Those who are slack on safety will be punished with higher premiums.

"Under the present system, everyone is treated the same, so there is no incentive to improve safety."

National's policy will also:

* Allow competition in all accounts except the non-earner account.
* Reinstate an industry-wide, independent, dispute resolution process.
* Revamp OSH to create an efficient, effective body that will uphold health and safety legislation.
* Ensure co-ordination of injury prevention programmes between Ministry of Health, insurers, OSH and industry.

"Our aim is to provide choice, and greater opportunities and benefits for everyone," says Dr Brash.


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