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National continues to duck for cover on ACC

16 July 2008 Media Statement


National continues to duck for cover on ACC


National still clearly wants to privatise ACC but is too afraid of a backlash from New Zealand workers to say it, ACC Minister Maryan Street said today.

“National would privatise ACC if it ever gets the chance but John Key knows that this was unpopular with workers last time they tried and nothing has changed since then.

“Why else would he try to slip this announcement out late in the day and dress up his statement with weasel words to try hide their true intentions.

“Make no mistake, National under John Key has privatisation in its DNA and is eyeing up ACC for the chop. They just don't want to talk openly about their plans - probably under strict orders from Crosby Textor, Maryan Street said.

“National has only released this “policy” after a confidential Merrill Lynch briefing to Australian insurance company investors was leaked earlier this month, highlighting National’s plans and how much those investors stood to gain from them.

“The Aussie insurers will be the only ones smiling after today’s announcement, because they will read it for what it is – code for big bucks for them at the expense of the ordinary New Zealand worker and business, “Maryan Street said.

“Privatising the work account will result in lower quality care for injured workers, less vocational rehabilitation and lower levels of compensation for people with serious injuries in particular. Workers are also likely to become embroiled in disputes over whether they should get compensation for work injuries, as private insurers seek to avoid paying out on claims.

“These experiences are common for workers in privatised schemes, including those covered by the Australian insurers poised to swoop in on ACC.

“Research shows that the prospects for employers under privatisation are poor. Australian employer levies are 250 per cent higher than those here. Why? Because as Murray McCully, the National Minister then in charge of ACC, said in 1998 “Insurers, like everyone else, are in business to make a buck.”

“Several recent reports suggest that despite National claims, many employers aren’t even interested in privatisation. In a briefing to investors on National’s potential privatisation plans this month, Tower Ltd said “There is also the risk that employer groups may oppose the change, a reason which stopped similar attempts to privatise workers compensation is NSW in 2003.”

ENDS


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