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Labour ACC Policy Ignoring Rural People

Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) today accused the Labour Party of ignoring the impact of its ACC policy on rural people.

"The Labour Party has got it wrong! Farmers do not want to return to the bad old days. We certainly do not want to lose the ability to choose insurers. Clearly, the Labour Party has no regard for the needs of the rural sector," said General Policy Manager Gavin Forrest.

A survey of the rural sector undertaken last year showed huge dissatisfaction with the old ACC system. Privatisation of workplace accident insurance cover has provided increased benefits at a lower cost. Savings of $300 million have been made.

Under the new regime, farmers are paying approximately 30% less and receiving enhanced benefits. Employees are continuing to receive protection and compensation, improved levels in many circumstances.

"Helen Clarke's claim to yesterday's Election Year Business Summit that "the privatisation of workplace cover is another triumph of ideology over evidence" is groundless. The reverse is true," said Mr Forrest.

"The old ACC regime treated the rural community, and especially self-employed farmers, very badly. Farmers were heavily charged for a half-baked service. The self-employed were wasting their time trying to obtain income replacement from the ACC Corporation."

"In fact, ACC was in the habit of clawing back the small amounts it had paid if the farmer had a financially better than expected year."

"The private sector has provided self-employed farmers with a guaranteed level of replacement income if unable to work. This is something ACC could not do despite 25 years of pressure from farmers."

"The farming community wants to retain choice - and the huge benefits that having a choice of insurer has provided," concluded Mr Forrest.

ENDS

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