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Maori Party paves way for ACC cuts

Hon Parekura Horomia
Maori Affairs Spokesperson

20 October 2009 Media Statement
Maori Party paves way for ACC cuts

The Maori Party’s decision to pave the way for cuts to ACC entitlements will hit Maori families particularly hard and raises serious questions about their commitment to whanau ora, says Labour’s Maori Affairs spokesperson Parekura Horomia.

“Large numbers of Maori work in primary industries - such as forestry, fisheries, meat processing, farming, agriculture and horticulture - where injury rates are high.

“Many of these workers are employed in casual, part-time or seasonal jobs – jobs which affect 400,000 workers - and the Government wants to slash their entitlements and make it harder for them to support their families in the event of an accident,” says Parekura Horomia.

“The only people who will benefit is National’s big business mates, who will pay less to support workers injured in their workplaces.

“As Tariana Turia herself pointed out recently, when she raised concerns about a lack of support for Maori with disabilities, one in five Maori have a disability – so the range of cuts to entitlements proposed and under consideration will hit Maori hard,” Parekura Horomia says.

“The reality is someone has to pay for the cost of care for accident victims – and for families to survive when the breadwinner is injured. If ACC doesn’t cover you, you will have to pay yourself,” says Associate Maori Affairs spokesperson Kelvin Davis.

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“And if you don’t have much money – you could be in real trouble. This is another reason why Maori, who are disproportionately represented in lower income brackets - should be particularly worried.

“Privatisating ACC, which is also under consideration by the Government, will cost New Zealanders more not less, because private insurers will only buy into the scheme if they can make a profit. That means New Zealanders get less for each dollar spent on ACC,” Kelvin Davis says.

“It is true, as Tariana Turia says, that Maori don’t always claim what they are entitled to under ACC. Greater awareness of the support available needs to be raised in Maori communities. But they will clearly end up with less, not more support, if entitlements are cut. No amount of spin will change that fact.”


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