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Media Release - 12 February 2010

Government Bill Cutting ACC Closer To Becoming Law

“Government legislation passing through Parliament will undermine our accident compensation scheme,” says Glenn Barclay, convenor of the ACC Futures Coalition.

The Injury Prevention Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment Bill was reported back to Parliament today, for its final reading, by the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee.

The Bill will reduce the coverage of the scehem,reduce entitlements and lead to accident victims being pushed off the scheme early,” says Glenn Barclay.

“The select committee heard extensive evidence on the impacy of the this will have on ordinary New Zealanders who require support from ACC, but they refused to listen.”

The government claims it needs to make these cuts to accident compensation because ACC is in trouble financially but that is simply not true.”

ACC had an operating surplus of $1.1 billion in the last financial year. And the corporation’s accounts for October indicate that its reserves are running 5.4% above forecast

“The pressure for the cuts comes solely from the government’s unnecessary commitment to fully funding entitlements by 2019,” says Glenn Barclay

The cuts to ACC entitlements teh government is making in the Bill include: forcing workers to use up their holiday pay entitlements before receiving weekly compensation payments; a reduction in the ready for work status from 35 to 30 hours making it easier to force claimants off weekly compensation; undermining the vocational independence process; and excluding those with less than 6% work related hearing loss from cover.

“Applications to review ACC’s decisions nearly doubled between March and September last year and there will be more complaints when the government’s cuts to accident compensation take effect,” says Glenn Barclay.

“These cuts are part of the softening up exercise before the Government privatises accident compensation for accidents in the workplace.”

The government is seeking to undermine the support provide by ACC to accident victims ahead of the reduced service thye’ll get from insurance companies when workplace accident compensation is privatised.”

12:00AM Friday, 12 February, 2010

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