INDEPENDENT NEWS

ACC figures misleading - independent review needed

Published: Mon 12 Oct 2009 12:38 PM
October 12, 2009
Media Release
Smith’s ACC figures smoke and mirrors – in-dependent review needed
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union is calling for an independent review of figures used by ACC Minister Nick Smith to signal cuts to ACC coverage and hiking of levies.
The union says Nick Smith has falsely portrayed ACC as being in a state of crisis in order to justify cuts and undermine public confidence in the scheme - despite ACC making a billion dollar operating surplus in the last financial year and having a remarkably high investment performance.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says the Minister’s claims are absurd.
“To claim ACC is in crisis when it is producing a billion dollar surplus and investing it to earn well above mar-ket rates is ridiculous.
“The truth is there is no crisis in ACC and the Minister and his hand-picked ACC chair, former accountant John Judge, are making misleading statements about the performance and viability of this critical service.
“Both have failed to explain crucial factors such as the true nature of the long term liabilities facing ACC and the assumptions underlying those liabilities.
“For example, they have failed to explain that the claimed liabilities are best estimates of claims that in some cases are expected to go for 40 years and they haven’t explained that they are assuming low returns on ACC’s investments and extraordinarily high inflation for future medical costs.
“The Minister’s hysterical claims would be amusing if it weren’t for the fact he’s using them as a smoke-screen to attack New Zealanders’ ACC cover and to impose unaffordable fee hikes on Kiwis at a time when we are still recovering from the effects of the worst recession in 70 years.
“Rather than making fast and loose decisions that will hurt New Zealanders the Minister should open the matter to independent review.
“The smoke and mirrors approach Nick Smith has taken to ACC does a disservice to all New Zealanders and will hurt them both financially and in terms of their access to decent care.”
The EPMU is New Zealand’s largest private sector union, representing 45,000 working New Zealanders across eleven industries.
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ENDS

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