INDEPENDENT NEWS

Insurers’ caution new government

Published: Mon 29 Nov 1999 12:30 AM
The Insurance Council has congratulated the new democratically elected coalition of Labour and the Alliance in earning the privilege to represent New Zealanders in the coming electoral term. Insurance Council members have identified the area of Accident Insurance as being a key one which will impact on them should the coalition government continue its stated intention to reverse accident insurance.
Insurance Council Chief Executive, Chris Ryan, said that insurers’ will be seeking to engage in constructive dialogue with the new government to ensure that an enormously complex area of accident insurance is examined thoroughly before any dramatic change is made to the way it is currently operating. Insurers’ also agree that the new government appears to be responsible and moderate. However, the Insurance Council believes that the first area where tensions will arise between the Alliance and the Labour parties in coalition will be accident insurance.
Labour made its promises almost two years ago believing that the previous government’s reforms would never succeed. The reforms have succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations and it is now the view of the business community generally that Labour is deeply reluctant to nationalise accident insurance and alienate the business community completely. On the other hand the Alliance is seeking to place Lilla Harre into the position of ACC Minister and pursue a nationalisation of industry agenda which will damage New Zealand’s international reputation and cost the New Zealand tax payer a billion dollars in the process.
The new Labour Government’s greatest challenge will be addressing the realities of nationalising a billion dollar industry, returning it to the State-run monopoly of ACC and imposing costs of one billion dollars back on the tax payer without losing its current reputation for being a moderate centre-left government. However, Insurance Council members are pledging to work constructively with the new government to ensure that all issues are examined before any serious mistakes are made.
Accident Insurance is an enormously complex success and will be enormously complex to reverse. It is the view of the Insurance Council that for the incoming government to maintain its credibility, its ideological stand on accident insurance should be dropped in favour of other priorities.
ENDS

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