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Dr Paul Hutchison National Party ACC Spokesman

Dr Paul Hutchison National Party ACC Spokesman

30 November 2006

Dyson's assault on ACC unprecedented

ACC is under intense pressure from Labour to ram through at least five unprecedented changes that will fundamentally alter the basis of the scheme, says National's ACC spokesman, Dr Paul Hutchison.

The pending changes include:

* The ability to transfer money from the Employers to the Residual account * The merger of the Employers and Self Employed accounts * Legislation against the consultation process in 2007/08 * Adding 25 gradual process diseases to Schedule 2 of the Act * Reshaping the affiliated providers so it's less attractive

"Described by industry as 'the most significant change to the ACC scheme in the last six years', ACC has already transferred over $240 million from the Employers to the Residual Account by using an unrecognised amendment (2005) to the IPRC Act. It could go up to $950 million.

"Merging the Employers and Self Employed Account would penalise those with good safety practices and reward risk takers. To add insult to injury, ACC Minister Ruth Dyson is arrogantly legislating against the normal levy consultation process in 2007/08.

"Not stopping there, Labour wants ACC to add 25 gradual process diseases to the IPRC Act's Schedule 2, and at the same time reverse the requirement of proof from the individual to ACC. "This will result in the great danger of misdiagnosing the real cause of injury through legislation and make it impossible for ACC to prove where serious issues like hearing loss, substance abuse and even asthma occurred.

"Labour is making the Accredited Employers Scheme less attractive by increasing the residual levy as well as increasing the stop loss limits of 150% or 200% (of standard levy) to 195% and 305% (of standard levy).

"New Zealanders should be alarmed at these moves and will be asking Ruth Dyson to explain how third party administrators can manage claims on average more than 75% per cent cheaper, and get people back to work earlier than ACC can.

"Labour's approach under Ruth Dyson can only be labelled devious and underhand, sending entirely the wrong message for injury identification and prevention. It will potentially cost New Zealanders millions of dollars," says Dr Hutchison.

ENDS

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