Wrong again on ACC Nick Smith

Published: Wed 25 Nov 2009 09:51 AM
24 November 2009 Media Statement
Wrong again on ACC Nick Smith
ACC Minister Nick Smith is continuing to get it wrong on ACC, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson David Parker.
“Today Nick Smith admitted during Parliamentary question time that he did not inform Cabinet that the Government’s ACC bill restores the right for workers to sue their employers for up to six percent work related hearing loss.
“In other words, the Bill takes money currently spent on hearing aids and causes it to be wasted on lawyers bills instead, ” David Parker said.
“I am advised by qualified audiologists that in practice a person in their 50s with six percent hearing loss (plus the hearing loss they have through age) will not be able to hear much of what their grandchildren say nor hear birds sing. They need a hearing aid.
“Continuing with his unprincipled approach to ACC, Nick Smith told parliament today he has now decided to keep this inside the ACC scheme and thereby stop people having the right to sue, but to prohibit them from accessing treatment.
“This is incredibly cynical. New Zealanders gave up the right to sue in return for fair treatment, and now they will get none. Many will now have to pay for their hearing aids. Some will not be able to afford to and will, with their family, suffer a loss in their quality of life.
“Nick Smith claimed again today that his decision will put New Zealand in line with what happens in Australia. But Nick Smith is wrong - yet again.
“Australia does not have a six percent threshold for hearing aids. Those who suffer work related hearing loss and need a hearing aid get one.
“Nick Smith has done everything he can to mislead New Zealanders on ACC and has been caught doing so again today.
ACC levies in NZ are already cheaper for employers than the more expensive insurance premiums paid in Australia. There is no justification for this meanness.
“It is extraordinary that Nick Smith can day after day get it so wrong on ACC and his other portfolio,” David Parker said.

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