CTU MEDIA RELEASE
01 September 2008
ACC legend reminds of the value of the scheme
“Hearing ACC legend Sir Owen Woodhouse speak this morning at the ACC Futures Conference in Wellington was a very powerful reminder about why we need to value and keep our accident compensation scheme,” Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly said today.
“This iconic New Zealander, who was largely responsible for the design of ACC, spoke about the fundamental principles of the scheme: comprehensive entitlement, complete rehabilitation, real compensation, community responsibility and administrative efficiency.”
“He reminded us that the scheme was conceptualised as a social security scheme, not an insurance scheme, and that this idea needed to be revitalised rather than forgotten.”
“He spoke of the grim circumstances injured workers faced in getting compensation before the scheme was introduced and how the incentives that drive the scheme, including rehabilitation, play a big part in New Zealand having an lower average loss of work days through accidents, than in comparable countries.”
“The overall message from the day was that the ACC scheme is world class: efficient, effective and broad in its coverage and benefits.”
“While both the National and Act spokespeople at the conference continued to advocate privatisation this was against all the research presented, and they were unable to offer any convincing reasons about the benefits of private insurance, or reassurances about the risks to this very good scheme.”
The CTU congratulates Sir Owen on his farsightedness and acknowledges his significant role in designing this world class ACC scheme, Helen Kelly said.