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Cabinet paper proves ACC cuts target low income NZ

10 December 2009
Media Statement

Cabinet paper proves ACC cuts will target lower income and vulnerable New Zealanders

A Cabinet paper detailing changes to ACC legislation is further proof that hard-working, lower income families and other particularly vulnerable New Zealanders will be hardest hit by the cuts, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson David Parker.

“Labour's been saying this for a while, but now we know this is what officials have been advising the Government as well. Maori, young people and the elderly will also be particularly hard hit. But this advice has been ignored.

“It shows National's so-called ‘change of focus from welfare agency to injury risk manager’ is just code for taking accident compensation off hard-working New Zealanders when they have an accident. The very mean-spirited nature of the Government’s decisions are highlighted by the paper,” David Parker says.

“Even Treasury opposed and labelled as niggardly the plan to save $1million - in terms of such a large scheme this is peanuts - through deducting pre-accident earnings in the form of holiday pay from ACC compensation.

“Treasury said this was unfair. The Government proceeded anyway. Nick Smith should be labelled the Grinch who stole Christmas.

“But it's actually not funny. The policy being developed around ACC does not reflect the New Zealand I want to live in. Take away people’s right to sue, but leave them with niggardly cover, even though ACC is already cheaper for employers than Australian equivalents,” says David Parker.

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“Elderly New Zealanders will be outraged if they go ahead with the plans to introduce across the board part-charges for hearing loss. Some will simply miss out on hearing aids because they can’t afford them.

“The Cabinet paper (attached) also proves our assertion that the ACC changes shift cost to individuals and other government agencies.

“The paper shows that many of the costs saved by ACC will simply be shifted to departments like Health and the Social Development Ministry - to the extent that Treasury predicts the changes will come at a ‘net cost to the Crown’ (just like the ETS which Treasury also warned against) and will make ‘little difference to levy rates’. So Nick Smith will undermine ACC and there's little benefit to the taxpayer or the levy payer? That's just nuts,” says David Parker.

Cabinet Paper (pdf)

ENDS

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