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Labour's ACC Policy 'Sheer Stupidity'

Thursday 1st July 1999

Labour's decision to abandon essential reform of the time-worn ACC system is a giant leap backwards - even for a party dedicated to the nanny state, ACT's spokesman on accident compensation, the Hon Derek Quigley MP, said today.

"The State should have no role in accident compensation except as a watchdog," he said in commenting on the Labour announcement that it proposes to turn back the clock on ACC reform. "The last thing we need is a return to old-style, outdated paternalism where the state knows best."

"Ideally, the Government should get out of accident compensation altogether and leave it to the private sector but this year's reforms are at least a step towards a more efficient, cost-effective system that reduces the financial risk to taxpayers and ACC levy payers.

"What ACT wants is an accident compensation system that:

Emphasises prevention of accidents, encourages rehabilitation, and is soundly administered.

Gives New Zealanders the widest possible choice of cover and.

Limits the Government's role to setting the rules and ensuring fairness.

"In the 12 years from 1984, ACC expenditure rose from 0.8 per cent of GDP to 1.8 per cent of GDP. When ACC was first introduced a White Paper estimated that 200,000 people might qualify for comprehensive entitlement at a cost of around $43 million in the first year. In today's dollar terms that would be over $316 million yet the estimated ACC annual cost two years ago had risen to $1.89 billion. In 1975 there were 2.04 million medical treatments. Twenty years later the figure was 6.94 million.

"Clearly, the old ACC clearly wasn't working. Yet Labour, because of its blind commitment to State control and intervention, wants to turn the clock back. Sheer stupidity."

ENDS

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