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Alliance Party challenges Tariana Turia over ACC

Alliance Party challenges Tariana Turia over ACC comments on TVNZ

Alliance Party Media Release – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Disability Issues Minister Tariana Turia has been challenged by the Alliance Party to keep her commitment to oppose the changes to the Accident Compensation scheme announced by the National Government last week.

In an interview on TVNZ’s Q+A yesterday, Turia told the nation that she was opposed to any further cuts in entitlements, especially for ACC clients who needed modified vehicles and homes if they acquired disability through accident. Alliance Party Disabilities Spokesperson Chris Ford welcomes Ms Turia’s stated opposition to these moves but has challenged her to keep the pressure up on not only this but other aspects of the ACC cuts programme.

“It is a breath of fresh air for a minister to keep out swinging against an aspect of Government policy that will severely impact on so many New Zealanders with disabilities. We hope that she can exert a great deal of pressure upon ACC Minister Nick Smith to re-think his position on the cuts and levy rises,” said Mr Ford.

The Alliance Party has also added its voice to the call for the ACC cuts and levy rises to be rescinded.

“We believe that this crisis has been deliberately manufactured. This might well be the case as any drop in revenue has probably resulted from the ongoing underfunding of ACC by previous Labour and National administrations whom both cut levies for businesses and some individuals and now this Government is using it as an excuse to begin the privatisation process.”

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That is why the Alliance Party is viewing this move as being merely analogous to the old fairytale of Hansel and Gretel.

“The National Party is merely, like the evil old woman in Hansel and Gretel, seeking to fatten up ACC so that it can then be served out and eaten up by private insurance interests. If this occurs, then many thousands of New Zealanders will be denied accident coverage and ongoing support if they acquire disability through those means,” he said.

Mr Ford is hopeful that Tariana Turia can best represent the interests of the disability community during her Tuesday meeting and make the case that many disabled people, across both the health and ACC sectors, are already getting a raw deal in terms of entitlements.

“During the past week, we have witnessed what could be the beginning of the end for ACC as we know it. However, the Alliance reiterates its commitment to retaining ACC as a fully publicly-owned, levy funded operation which provides no-fault, 24 hour cover for all New Zealanders who have accidents and this includes access to the full range of entitlements currently available and also implementing the desire of the disability sector for full equity of entitlements for both ACC and Ministry of Health funded disability support clients,” added Mr Ford.


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