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No ACC comfort for Kiwis from Key

Hon Maryan Street
Minister for ACC

2 July 2008 Media Statement

No ACC comfort for Kiwis from Key

John Key has finally been forced to confirm some details around National plans to privatise ACC - but he has failed to provide any assurances that New Zealanders will not lose out as a result, says ACC Minister Maryan Street.

“Before the last election it was revealed by the Insurance Council that National had deliberately withheld details of its plans for ACC from the public, precisely because they knew they would be hugely unpopular.

“Mr Key has continued to leave the public in the dark over National’s policy until today, when a report by merchant bankers Merrill Lynch finally forced him into some disclosures. The report details the huge profits Australian insurers would make out of a scheme privatised by National - profits which will be borne by taxpayers,” said Maryan Street.

“Mr Key claims to want to increase choice and reduce costs for New Zealanders, but all the available evidence shows the opposite will happen. Mr Key has failed to provide any proof to the contrary. Under a privatised system it is only the insurance companies which will be given choice – the choice over who to insure and who not to insure.

“On the question of costs, all the figures show the state monopoly scheme currently operating in New Zealand offers much cheaper levies than those charged by the Australian insurers who are greedily eyeing up a takeover of our scheme.”

And the recent independent PriceWaterhouseCoopers report on ACC estimated administration costs would have to rise by well over 10 per cent if it was privatised to ensure the scheme was properly regulated, Maryan Street said.

“This is a great irony given National claims to be anti-red tape. Mr Key needs to explain exactly which ACC accounts will be privatised, whether New Zealanders will have to take out private accident insurance under National, whether they will have to battle for compensation in the courts and exactly how he thinks he will deliver safer workplaces at a lower cost.

“He should also spell out how many ACC workers are set to lose their jobs when the scheme is transferred into Australian hands.”


ENDS

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