Posts Tagged ‘ ACC ’

Labour’s mess, a familiar cycle

The squeals from the Labour opposition about possible privatisations and the cuts in spending are laughable.

What isn’t so laughable is the mess they have left the country in.

Every time we get socialists running the country they do this, and I include the socialist government of Muldoon in that category. They can’t help themselves, in order to bribe the electorate with bigger and bigger spending promises they have to loot different parts of Governments savings to pay for the extravagant social policies that are in reality unsustainable.

Since the ‘Fiscal Responsibility Act’ governments have become cleverer at bypassing the restraints and finding new creative ways of hiding their spending and looting. I guess it’s really no surprise that as the Banks, Finance companies and various other dodgy funds that were set up to appeal to peoples greed, that the Labour government should do something very similar with public finances.

As naive investors have discovered with the likes of Hanover, so to have taxpayers discovered that Labour has been playing fast and loose with the public finances… and like dodgy finance companies, should any one really be surprised?

The more pious Michael Cullen was about being a reliable custodian of the public purse, the more suspicious I was that they were up to something.

A more cynical person would think that possibly Labour are relieved to have lost the election because sooner or later the mess with ACC would have to be sorted out, and clearly Labour weren’t expecting the credit crunch which has wiped out any growth prospects and the accompanying loss of revenue.

Naturally voters have very short memories, and like with previous tax and spend governments who leave the mess for some-one else to clean up, the rose tinted spectacles will go on next time they are promised increases in social spending beyond their wildest dreams. So too is there a new crop of silly investors with large sums of cash ready to invest in shonky finance companies promising rates of return that only people blinded by greed would accept…

National can hardly be blamed if they are dusting off privatisation plans, no doubt some will be necessary, and some will be ideological, but if anyone is to blame for this it’s voters who accepted Labour promises without considering how it was all going to be paid for and what would happen if the economy hit the skids. 

It’s been said many times, if some-one promises you something that sounds to good to be true, it usually is, that this applied to both Labour’s term in Government and the mess caused by finance companies, the property market and loose leading from banks.

And, it’s also worth pointing out that those who fail to learn from history and doomed to repeat it, and here we are with yet another Labour government whose really been following the same old tax and spend rules – only this time they spent the money that was meant to go into ACC – so if you voted for Labour, it’s actually your fault if it does get partially privatised, not Nationals.


ACC Commonsense

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…

Is this how the election will be fought?

“As details over the renationalisation of the rail service began to emerge, Prime Minister Helen Clark said under parliamentary privilege that National Leader John Key had personally profited during the rail network’s chequered financial history…”

It seems the only plan Labour has for the looming election is to constantly bag John Key. I thought perhaps they would tire of this and actually pull out some policy or something to try and improve the level of debate up. Clearly that was a bit silly of me, because so far all we get is the usual childish name calling and school yard accusations directed at the leader of National.

If this is all Labour’s got they really ARE in deep shit. I have news for Clark and Cullen – this is not going to impress anyone (apart from you sycophantic mates) especially not potential voters. We’re not really interested in John Key’s financial affairs, in fact, by continuing to focus on him you’re drawing attention to him, and maybe pointing out that he is capable of making money might be seen my many as a strength rather than a weakness. That Cullen and Clark see this quality as a weakness speaks more about their own values than Keys.

I guess as long a National is drip feeding us policy, the coming months won’t be too mind numbing! 

The Nat’s ACC policy (introducing some competition) looks promising, although it is not entirely new. I recall that this actually saved businesses money, and it was the first thing Cullen trashed – I will never forget him telling business that Labour won, and they were changing things, so we all had to “get over it”, and it was a figment of our imagination that the new ACC flexibility was saving us money.