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MEDIA RELEASE

1 June 2011

Privatisation proposals a step backwards

 

The announcement by the government this morning that it will be consulting on various options for the privatisation of ACC represents a major step backwards according to the ACC Futures Coalition.

 

“All the proposals under consultation will disadvantage New Zealand workers, “said ACC Futures Coalition spokesperson Hazel Armstrong. “The government is stressing that the proposals will introduce choice, but it is choice for employers only. The injured worker will not be the client any more and so the focus is likely to be on denying claims or forcing workers back to work before they are ready.”

 

“There is a similar problem with the accredited employers’ programme which the government is proposing to extend. This relies heavily on private sector administrators to manage the claims. ACC’s own research indicates that these administrators have the lowest satisfaction rates with clients and this is supported by injured workers’ own experiences.”

 

“If the Government proceeds with its plans to privatise the work account it would be difficult for them to prioritise measures for the public good, “said Ms Armstrong. “For example, after the Christchurch earthquake the government instructed ACC to pay the first weeks compensation for those in employment. They will not be able to require private insurers to pay above the scheme entitlements in that way in the future. It can only do it because, as the Government, it can carry the risks associated with the decision rather than imposing them retrospectively on a private company.”

 

“We should be under no illusion that the reforms the government has embarked on will undermine a scheme that has served New Zealand well,” said Ms. Armstrong. “The government has failed to demonstrate a problem that needs to be fixed by privatisation. Furthermore, handing over the work account of ACC to Australian based private insurers means that profits from our levies will be repatriated,” said Ms Armstrong. “It is our scheme, not theirs.”

 

ENDS

 

Contact: Hazel Armstrong : 027 472 1793

03:58PM Wednesday, 01 June, 2011

 
 
 
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