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Media Release 12 May 2009
ACC Minister recycling flawed accident compensation

The ACC Futures Coalition says ACC Minister Nick Smith’s talk of reducing accident compensation levies for employers who claim to have a good safety records is a flawed concept that has been tried in the past and failed.

ACC Minister Nick Smith is reported in today’s Otago Times as saying that he wants to allow employers with an apparently good safety record to pay lower ACC levies.

“The flaw in what Dr Smith is proposing is that some unscrupulous employers will pressure their workers into not reporting injuries to maintain a good safety record.”

“There’s evidence to shows that this is what happened in the1990s when this approach was last applied.”

“It’s a simplistic approach that does not work in the case of occupational diseases contracted in the workplace such as asbestosis.”

“When a worker is hurt in the workplace there is usually an incident that can be reported. But if they contract an occupational disease at work this may not show up until long after they’ve left the unsafe workplace.”

“This means the employer who operated the unsafe workplace that caused the illness is not penalised by having their ACC levy increased.”

“This shows that the concept of having lower levies for employers who appear to be running an unsafe workplace is a simplistic approach that is open to manipulation by unscrupulous employers.”

“Dr Smith is seeking to import this concept from the private insurance industry and experience shows us that this approach doesn’t work in the area of a social insurance scheme like ACC,” says Ms Armstrong.

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 Tuesday, 12 May, 2009

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