Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Sloppy as well as slippery - John Key on ACC

Hon Maryan Street
Minister for ACC

17 July 2008 Media Statement

Sloppy as well as slippery - John Key gets his facts wrong on ACC

John Key has got so many of his facts wrong on ACC that it beggars belief injured New Zealanders could actually trust National to protect their interests, says ACC Minister Maryan Street.

“In the last 24 hours Mr Key has told the public privatisation of ACC will result in safer workplaces for workers. Yet the facts show New Zealand workplace injury rates are significantly lower than those in Australia – and as everybody now knows, it is the Aussie insurers who would be running the show under National.

“A February report comparing the latest workplace injury figures shows Australia’s serious injury and disease claim rates for workers’ compensation is 9.4 claims per million hours worked in Australia, compared with the lower 7.4 rate here.

“Mr Key told Radio Live “in Australia their (workers) rehabilitation rate has been much quicker”. The facts are that New Zealand workers return to work faster than their Australian counterparts. The latest figures show 39 per cent of injured workers in Australia receive compensation for six weeks or longer, compared with just 31 per cent in New Zealand,” Maryan Street said.

“Mr Key said the Accredited Employer Programme (AEP), which allows some employers to self-insure, enabled them to use private insurers. He could not be more wrong. The facts are that these employers are explicitly prohibited from using private insurers.

Mr Key claimed there were about 500 employers on the scheme. The facts are there are 145 AEP contracts, Maryan Street said.

“Mr Key told Radio Live he believed there should be an independent ombudsman to investigate ACC claims, and has also said ACC should not be judge and jury when it comes to disputes.

“The facts are there are already significant review rights and a further right of appeal through the courts. The Ombudsman is already used in some ACC disputes, as is the Health and Disability Commissioner and the Privacy Commissioner,” she said.

“Further, it should be noted dispute rates in New Zealand are very low, at 0.2 per cent for workplace claims, compared to nine per cent in Australia.”

“Mr Key has claimed approval ratings for ACC are only 50 per cent. The facts are that client satisfaction ratings – ie people who have accessed ACC – are 86 per cent for short-term clients and 80 per cent for long-term clients. General public trust and confidence ratings are 60 per cent.

“Mr Key has alternately promised “lower premiums” under privatisation and then said “I’m not convinced there’ll be a huge reduction in levies.” Which is it Mr Key?

“This is about as decisive and convincing as his statement on Checkpoint last night that National was “almost certainly likely” to privatise the Work Account,” Maryan Street said.

“Then there is his apparent unfamiliarity with the fundamental principles underpinning the scheme. On Radio Live he described the principles as “no fault, 24 hour, no fault, blah, blah, blah.”

“Well that’s reassuring.”

If Mr Key has actually read the PriceWaterhouseCoopers report as he claims - which is 472 pages long, not the 200 pages Mr Key claims – he would know there is no need for a comprehensive evaluation of ACC because that’s what PriceWaterhouseCoopers has already done.

“He would also know that the report finds ACC to be world-leading, that the state monopoly is the best way to run it and that privatisation would require a major increase in regulatory costs, which National claims to oppose. It’s pretty simple really.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Not Easy: Gordon Campbell On The Greens’ Ongoing Problems

Hard to treat the Greens’ belated decision to stand a candidate in Ohariu as being anything other than a desperation move, by a party whose own leadership is evidently concerned about its chances of survival...

A few months ago, the Greens felt able to forego that role in Ohariu in order to help a beleaguered Labour Party get its candidate Greg O’Connor across the line, and knock Peter Dunne out of the parliamentary frame. More>>


Closing The Gap: Ardern Rules Out Income Tax Rise

After earlier commitments by Jacinda Ardern to do something about inequality and poverty, this new position on income tax seems an about face. To do something significant about inequality requires increases in income for those at the bottom and decreases for those at the top... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On DHB Deficits And Free Trade

Currently the world is looking on aghast at the Trump administration’s plans to slash Obamacare, mainly in order to finance massive tax changes that will deliver most of their gains to the wealthy. Lives will be lost in the trade-off. Millions of Americans stand to lose access to the healthcare they need... More>>

Greens' Response: Slum-Like Rentals Exposed In Renting Review

“...The grim findings of the review are a wakeup call about the true state of rentals in this country. Too many renters are festering in slum-like conditions under the thumb of landlords who have largely unchecked powers and ignore tenants’ complaints when it suits them.” More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Life And Times Of Peter Dunne

The unkind might talk of sinking ships, others could be more reminded of a loaded revolver left on the desk by his Cabinet colleagues as they closed the door behind them, now that the polls in Ohariu had confirmed he was no longer of much use to National. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election