Despite part of me saying that the whole ACC concept is socialist, it does in fact work quite well so I am not going to start advocating that we should do away with it.
The National Party has come up with a very moderate policy on tweaking ACC a bit.
I should emphasise moderate because I expect within the next 24 hours we are going to hear a lot of hysterical shrieking and screaming along the lines that a National Government is either going to completely privatise ACC or this is a back door way of privatising it – would that National really had the guts to privatise anything, but everyone can be rest assured we are not going to see that during their first term, if ever, as I suspect National if they win will just be Labour Lite without the PC.
Everyone needs to understand something about ACC, large employers already get to ‘opt out’ of ACC in a sense as they can develop their own in house ACC schemes to reduce accidents and get insurance based on the success of their programs – I know, I have been working for one such large employer (1000 staff plus).
All that National are proposing is to allow smaller employers to have access to the same program.
In addition National are proposing to create an independent body to judge claims disputes – this is again very sensible. Claimants should not have to fight ACC all the way to court, and in court to have a claim accepted just because ACC has very deep pockets and wants to avoid a situation where a particular area may be opened up to ‘new’ claims. This policy could see ACC paying out more money for claims and increased coverage, so I don’t see this as being privatisation by stealth – quite the contrary!
I would really encourage people alarmed about what they are going to here over the next few weeks to go and check out the two policy statements – because they are very mild!
And no, I don’t belong to National, never have. I just think that last time employers got a bit of competition in ACC there was a saving – I know I was one – and given how things are in the economy anything that saves a bit of money is worth considering. In additional, just because something works, doesn’t mean it can’t be improved, and ACC can clearly be improved.
For some more commentary…