Alliance commits to putting ACC back together
Laila Harre MP Wed Sep 15 1999
Accident compensation won't be improved for injured workers unless ACC is urgently restored as the single, comprehensive public agency responsible for accident compensation, Alliance ACC spokesperson Laila Harré says.
Speaking at an ACC meeting at Auckland's Avondale Community Centre tonight,
Laila Harré committed the Alliance to removing private insurance companies from accident compensation.
'Restoring ACC will be a priority for an incoming government. Insurance companies have been warned and they have taken a commercial risk in the full knowledge that they may not be able to continue to profit from workplace injuries next year.'
She said the restoration of a single, comprehensive agency was necessary to enable injured workers' conditions to be improved in future.
'This year's injured worker will be next year's injured worker and may well be the same injured worker for the next forty years.
'But a future government cannot improve entitlements for that injured worker and require private companies to pay for it - the insurance companies won't have collected the premium income to cover the improvement.
'That means that unless ACC is rapidly restored, it will be very difficult for a worker injured today to receive improved compensation and rehabilitation in the future.
'It is essential for the progressive improvement of entitlements to return to a pay-as-you-go scheme with substantial reserves. And it is essential to returning to a pay-as-you-go scheme that we abandon the private insurance model.
'The whole point of ACC is that society as a whole should bear the cost of the accident, not just the injured individual. Unless injured workers receive steady improvements in their conditions, then they will not be sharing equally in the fruits of social improvements, and so they will be bearing an increased proportion of the cost of their injuries,' Laila Harré said.