21 December 2010Media Statement
National’s ACC privatisation plan hidden until now
New Zealanders will end up paying more for ACC and get less coverage under National’s plan to privatise the workers’ account, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson David Parker.
“We know that opening the workers’ account to privatisation will, over time, lead to increased costs for consumers and reduced coverage as private insurance companies will have to make a profit.
“In terms of the timing of this announcement, National has chosen to release its ACC stocktake just a couple of days before Christmas when people are focused on other things.
“New Zealanders won’t be fooled. This report was commissioned more than a year ago and has been with Ministers for six months. They have refused all attempts for the public to see it until now. The government has refused to release it under the Official Information Act to the media or political parties. For the Minister to release it days before Christmas - after Parliament has risen - is cynical politics driven by his desire to minimise the significance of the step National is taking.
“John Key and his ACC Minister Nick Smith are trying to bury their privatisation plan in the Christmas rush, hoping that New Zealanders won’t notice.
But they won’t be fooled.
“Labour is strongly opposed to privatisation of ACC, which is a world-leading provider of accident rehabilitation and income support for those who suffer injuries. It has been publicly owned and operated for three decades. Independent studies - which have been publicly released - show its levies are already substantially lower than in Australia and other countries.
“No wonder John Key has turned his phone off and is no longer taking calls from journalists. He doesn’t want his name associated with National’s privatisation plan.
“What he should remember though is that ACC is already cost effective. Despite National's rhetoric last year, it is in sound financial shape and operates with lower costs and levies than overseas schemes. The changes will make it less efficient and Kiwis will pay the price.”