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How much did National get for its ACC policy?

1 September 2005

How much did National get for its ACC privatisation policy?

Helen Clark today challenged the National Party to say how much of Dr Brash’s $3.5 million war chest target came from the insurance industry.

“A leaked memo from the Insurance Council to its members makes it clear that details of National’s policy to privatise ACC have been deliberately withheld from the public after consultation with the Insurance Council.

“National’s policy opens up to the insurance industry ACC’s levy business of more than $2 billion. That’s all the ACC’s levy business except the non-earner account.

“National’s privatised ACC policy is a huge gift to the insurance industry. It defies credibility to believe that this bonanza, details of which are being withheld, has not attracted big donations to the National Party.

“National must now disclose how much it has received in return for these policies.

“Some indication of what is hidden in the details of the policy is disclosed in the comments from the chief executive of the Insurance Council, Chris Ryan, to the New Zealand Herald today.

“When asked what had been removed from the policy, Mr Ryan says “my understanding would be, how far the privatisation would go, whether you would have an independent disputes tribunal, what role the ACC would take, whether there would be a Crown entity player like last time…what your time frame would be.”

Helen Clark said that last time National set out to privatise ACC, it kept a state corporation, @Work Insurance, to compete with the private sector.

“At the time that Labour was elected in 1999, @Work Insurance was competing successfully and had retained a lot of business.

“This must have been galling to the insurance industry. It seems highly likely now that National’s more extreme policy for the 2005 election involves having no government-owned accident compensation provider for the accounts which it is opening up to competition.

“In other words the secret detail withheld from the public is the total privatisation of ACC except for the non-earner account.

Helen Clark said that two critical issues are at stake here:

“They are (1) privatised accident compensation would result in higher levies and less comprehensive cover for injured people, and (2), the extent to which National is prepared to sell its policies in return for campaign donations, which – like the full implications of its policy – it will not disclose.

“In the national interest, the National Party must come clean now,” Helen Clark said.


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