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Insurance Council Calls For Minister's Evidence

Media Release
9 February 2000


The Associate Minister for Accident Insurance, Ruth Dyson, should bring forward concrete evidence to demonstrate how going back to public monopoly-provided accident insurance will benefit workers, because she has come up with nothing substantive so far, says the Insurance Council.

Ms Dyson was quoted today as saying more research was required, after the Insurance Council yesterday, provided comprehensive and compelling evidence to a Select Committee for retention of a competitive market including massive reductions in workplace fatalities, accidents and disputes.

"It is clear that private insurers have done a stunning job. In just six months they have revolutionised the delivery of accident insurance. They have achieved a dramatic improvement in workplace safety, something that successive Governments have been struggling with, unsuccessfully, for decades.

"Ms Dyson has challenged these figures saying they are not right.

"She must present her own figures, otherwise her comments have no substance. The Council's figures have been taken from the Office of the Regulator, each of the insurance companies and are a matter of public record. We invite her to investigate them.

"Unless she is able to provide different and substantive information, then our figures will stand against what appear to be ideologically-driven policies which ignore the needs and concerns of workers and employers", says Chris Ryan, Insurance Council Chief Executive.

"There are a great deal of people out there - workers and employers - who would like to know why they could be forced by this Government back to a state monopoly, that by international experience with such monopolies, is much less likely to deliver the successes achieved by the insurance industry.

"Ms Dyson also claims that there is no international evidence to support the Insurance Council claims yet she hasn't produced one single report in support of her statements. The Council invites Ms Dyson to identify her authorative international sources and match them against what is clearly an International trend away from monopoly providers.

The international trend is away from state monopolies and towards private markets for exactly the reasons why New Zealand moved in this direction. A return to a state monopoly would be totally out of line with the international trend. In fact, Greg Krohm, an international commentator currently in New Zealand, says there are no examples in the Western World of jurisdictions moving towards state monopolies. The movement is all the other way.

"We would agree with Ms Dyson that there is a need for further research on the success of the private market, but the way to conduct this research is not to immediately discontinue the private market as she is proposing. Effective research would involve allowing the market to continue until sufficient experience had been gained to measure success in detail, and then decide on the best method of delivery."


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