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Labour committed to keeping ACC in public hands

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister for ACC

30 August 2005 Media Statement

Labour committed to keeping ACC in public hands


New Zealand’s ACC scheme will remain as a fully public social insurance scheme under Labour, providing fair and cost-effective treatment and rehabilitation, said ACC Minister Ruth Dyson while launching Labour’s ACC policy today.

“New Zealanders can be proud that, through the public ACC scheme, those who suffer injuries receive more comprehensive care than in any other part of the world. This care is provided at a lower cost than in any other comparable accident compensation scheme.

“For instance, levies were higher overall under the privatised workplace insurance scheme set up by National in 1999, while the compensation and rehabilitation of injured people was worse,” Ruth Dyson said.

Labour plans to make the services provided by ACC even better in its next term by improving recognition and entitlements for people with occupational disease and ensuring cover for those who have an injury from a work-related gradual process, disease or infection.

“These are cases where the cause of injury or disease is hard to pin down, such as where a person may have developed a cancer or skin disorder through long-term exposure to a substance in the workplace. These are the very people who would have most difficulty securing entitlements under National’s proposed private insurance market.

“Levy discounts, which are available to large employers, will be extended to small employers and self-employed people. A workplace safety incentive programme is being developed for these groups, which will help to replicate the injury prevention successes that have been achieved with larger employers.

“A further strength of the public ACC scheme is its ability to work collaboratively with other government and non-government agencies for the broader social good, as well as to meet the varied and changing needs of injured people.

“That is how Labour is able to promote a comprehensive injury prevention strategy, which requires a co-operative whole-of-community approach to be effective.

“Labour also recognises the need to link the ACC scheme with the government’s broader economic and social goals. For example, we will require ACC to develop vocational rehabilitation and training for injured people who are unable to return to pre-injury employment, so that they have the best possible opportunity to return to secure, well paid employment without loss of earnings.

“ACC has proved itself a winner internationally, and with these further improvements will continue to be a successful scheme,” says Ruth Dyson.

ENDS

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