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Labour will enhance and protect ACC

Labour will enhance and protect ACC

Labour today reinforced its commitment to enhancing and protecting New Zealand's world leading ACC scheme which--- Kiwi owned and operated for three decades--- is envied internationally with low levies and Kiwis' best interests at heart, says Labour's ACC spokesperson Chris Hipkins.

Chris Hipkins launched Labour's ACC policy this morning while speaking to a pre-election meeting organised by the ACC Futures Coalition.

"ACC is the only system in the world which provides 24-hour no-fault coverage for all physical injuries. It's a public entity and the property of New Zealanders, not simply another insurance scheme to make profits for foreign corporates," Chris Hipkins said.

"National has been steadily undermining public confidence in ACC with the ulterior motive of flogging it off to multinationals, as it intends to do with our other profitable state-owned entities like our power companies and Air New Zealand.

"Labour is staunchly opposed to the privatisation of ACC and is committed to enhancing the scheme. Labour believes accident insurance is a social responsibility that should be guaranteed and provided by government," Chris Hipkins said.

"There is no evidence to suggest the privatisation of ACC would benefit New Zealanders. To the contrary the only ones who stand to benefit from opening the scheme up to competition are the big Australian insurance companies who would profit at our expense.

"It's about taking a principled approach," Chris Hipkins said. "Community responsibility, comprehensive entitlement, complete rehabilitation, real compensation and administrative efficiency are non-negotiable for Labour.

"Since taking government National has implemented short-sighted changes which have severely impacted the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups seeking support from ACC. This includes cutting funding for falls prevention for the elderly and injury prevention at-large.

"Under National, the most effective fall prevention programme, the Otago Exercise Programme (that ACC's own evaluation found had reduced falls by over 30 per cent), was cut completely.

"One of the core aspects of Labour's policy is to strengthen injury prevention programmes in the workplace and in the home.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out we'll all end up paying more in the long run as a result of National's short-term thinking," Chris Hipkins said.

"Another contentious issue Labour's policy addresses is National's ACC levy hikes for motor vehicles. Motorcyclists have been particularly targeted by National.

"Labour is concerned that increasing vehicle registration costs are penalising those who own more than one vehicle or those who only travel short distances. As such we have committed to investigating whether more, or even all, of the ACC revenue currently collected through vehicle registration should instead be collected via fuel levies. Any such change would be fiscally neutral overall.

"Labour is also committed to rolling back the worst excesses of National's cuts to ACC entitlement, as circumstances allow. Labour does not intend to increase ACC levies.

"Since 1974 ACC has served New Zealand well. It is in sound financial shape and must not be jeopardised by narrow-minded cost-cutting.

"ACC is a public utility, it belongs to New Zealanders and Labour won't see it sold off to the highest bidder. Labour's policies will support a comprehensive, universal and public ACC to enable New Zealanders to own their healthcare, their recoveries and their futures," Chris Hipkins said.

Authorised by Chris Hipkins MP, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

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