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ACC Privatisation Proposal Outrageous

Media Release ACC Futures Coalition 22 October 2009

ACC Privatisation Proposal Outrageous

The ACC Futures Coalition says the deal done between ACC Minister Nick Smith and the ACT Party to introduce privatisation of the workplace  account of ACC is outrageous.

“The Minister failed to get support for his legislation when he announced it and this left him vulnerable to pressure from ACT,” said ACC Futures Coalition spokesperson Hazel Armstrong.

“This deal cuts across the stocktake process which the Minister announced in August and which explicitly excluded consideration of the privatisation of the ACC account. The stocktake process will now be loaded with those who support the ACT position.”

“Those carrying out the ACC stocktake are not being given any extra time to consider opening up the workplace account to competition and to the best of our knowledge will not be calling for public submissions on what is a very controversial and important issue.”

“There is no problem to solve in the workplace account”, said Ms. Armstrong. “By the Minister’s own admission it is the only account in credit and it has good rehabilitation outcomes. Our levies are less than the privately driven schemes in Australia and our rehabilitation outcomes are better. Employers don’t appear to want this and workers certainly don’t. We will end up paying more for less.”

“When privatisation of the workplace account was last tried in New Zealand it caused confusion among workers, employers and treatment providers. Treatment providers reported that some employers placed pressure on their workers to not report injuries. I don’t think we want to return to that situation,” said Ms. Armstrong.

“The government’s approach to ACC, from funding through to entitlements, levies and now this announcement, reflects a failure to understand that ACC is not an insurance scheme,” said Ms Armstrong. “It was always social welfare in its intent and purpose.”

The ACC Futures Coalition, which was launched recently, consists of academics, consumers, health treatment providers and unions who have come together around the following aim:

To build cross-party support for retaining the status of ACC as a publicly-owned single provider committed to the ‘Woodhouse Principles’, with a view to maintaining and improving the provision of injury prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and ‘no fault’ compensation social insurance system for all New Zealanders.

Ends

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