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Media Release 22 October 2009

ACC Privatisation Proposal Outrageous

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

“The Minister failed to get support for his legislation when he announced 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 will now be loaded with those who support the ACT position, it is not being given any extra time to undertake this work and to the best of our knowledge it will not call for public submissions on what is a very controversial and important issue.”

“There is no problem to solve in the work 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 work 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.

“Government’s whole 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.

12:00AM Thursday, 22 October, 2009

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