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Iconic ACC system at risk from wide boys

Hon Jim Anderton

Progressive Party leader

18 July 2008 Media Statement

Iconic ACC system at risk from wide boys

National needs to explain to farmers and other high-risk ACC clients why it wants to increase their costs at a time when profits are already under threat, Progressive leader Jim Anderton said today.

He said that privatising ACC as National has mooted would lead to higher premiums - as it had in Australia, where charges are up to 2 and a half times as much as ACC levies here - and increased conflict over payments - as was previously the case when the system was privatised in the 1990s.

"Any electorate MP who was working in those days remembers how much time and effort was required to fight for people whose cases were unfairly treated by the privatised organisation and other insurers. New Zealanders do not want to go back to those bad old days."

Jim Anderton said any privatisation of ACC would be bad news for high-risk industries, such as agriculture.

"Farmers have more ACC claims than any other working group. They will be the first ones to suffer under a privatised system - either they will face massively increased claims, or they will not get coverage at all. Both those scenarios have been faced by farmers across the Tasman.

"National makes out it is the party that cares about the rural sector, but its commitment to that sector is only talk. In reality, the policies it proposes - what policies it has come clean about so far - would damage rural communities by taking us back to the days when services were pulled out of rural communities and rural people were left to look after themselves."

He said that the National Party was also leaving unclear what would happen to people whose accident compensation was with companies that then failed.

"Will they be left uncovered, as happened in Australia when companies failed there? Given the current instability in banking and insurance markets globally at the moment, voters need to know what the consequences of choices are."

Jim Anderton said media reports made it clear that ACC would be up for sale as soon as National could manage it.

"That leaves the status of other Crown companies at risk of sale too - Air New Zealand, Kiwibank, Kiwirail will only be the beginning."


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