Colin, I think we need to discuss your work:
the conspiracy theory peddled by Labour and the EPMU (i.e. Labour) that somehow this is all just a VRWC to derail the ACC, lower public confidence in it, and then sell it to the highest (or any) bidder just doesn’t ring true for me.
Don’t you remember the Hollow Men? Don’t you remember the letters exposing how the Insurance Council buys National policy? Don’t you even remember that last time they were in government, National privatised ACC? Or National’s policy to privatise ACC at the last election? It’s not a ‘conspiracy’. They’re not being evil. Undermining public faith in a policy in preparation for changing it is just common sense, just politics. The privatisation agenda is what you expect from the insurance industry, the advocates of neo-liberalism (the Business Roundtable), and a party whose ideology is based on free-market economics. Of course they cooperate and coordinate. Do you think it was a coincidence that the BRT had a press release out praising the ACC cuts a minute after Smith’s one announcing them?
I can’t believe someone with chairman John Judge’s commercial background is going to put his reputation on the line just to help the Government push a particular political ideology. Judge is not going to claim that the very existence of the ACC is under threat if it’s not.
John Judge was handpicked by Nick Smith after he fired Ross Wilson, do you think that Smith just picked some random person? Of course he bloody didn’t. Think it through. Judge is an ideologue, that’s why he got the job. Surprisingly, having a commercial background does not rule you out of being the kind of person who supports selling public assets to commercial interests.
there have now been three relatively independent reviews of ACC’s financial position, and all of them have come up with the conclusion that it is in the poo
Which “relatively independent” reports are these? I’d be interested to know who funded their production. And what do they actually say? Have you actually read these supposed reports that you don’t name?
there’s little doubt that the additions made to the scheme by Labour a couple of years ago – including things like lump-sum payouts for the families of suicide victims, and physiotherapy, simply aren’t affordable any more.
Explain how they aren’t affordable. How much do they cost? You don’t know. Why can’t they be paid for out of the existing surplus? You don’t know. How is it we can afford tax cuts and $73 billion in subsidies for carbon polluters but not some physio? You don’t know. You’re just repeating the first spin line you heard.
even if National had somehow managed to convince ACC’s auditors, and John Judge, and Treasury, and anyone else who’s looked at the books to take part in the VRWC, it would all be for nought cos quite frankly, no one would touch ACC with a bargepole anyway
National didn’t ‘convince’ these people, they all have the same ideology. Apart from the auditors but as you haven’t read what they said, we’ll leave that to one side. No-one would want to buy ACC now because of the unfunded tail. Private insurers need to operate on a fully-funded basis, unlike a state compensation scheme … but if that state scheme were to be fully funded, well then it becomes an attractive buy … starting to see what’s going on now?
Fully funding means that like a commercial insurer, ACC is required to hold enough in reserve to meet the claims it expects to have to pay out on over a given time. It has never operated like this before, but is now required to. Originally this was to happen by 2014. The Government – and in fact Labour too – wants to push this out to 2019.
Actually, Labour wanted to do this first, and National has now twice prevented David Parker putting his private members’ bill to do it on the order paper. In fact, many in the left are starting to wonder what the point of fully funding is other than prepping ACC for privatisation. We don’t fully fund health, education, superannuation, transport, or anything else. We shoud dpush out full funding or, better, move to a part funded model using the current assets.
National doesn’t have the votes to get the changes through Parliament yet, either, although it probably will manage it eventually because it’s cleverly set up a straw man in the form of even higher increases proposed by ACC that don’t require a law change.
You’re, you’re actually praising the government for putting up a overblown argument designed to misrepresent the real situation – a strawman? Aren’t you meant to expose and destroy strawmen, not worship them?
Having said all that, I do think Nick Smith has over-egged the pudding a little bit.
This is the middle ground fallacy, and it’s something a lot of casual observers of any debate fall into. Group A claims the answer is 1, Group B says the answer is 10, so I guess the answer is about 5. That’s understandable in the casual observer. It’s not OK from a professional political journalist. Your job, Colin, is to assess the competing arguments and report on what you think where you think each is valid or invalid, weak or strong.
If I wanted to hear ‘I guess the truth is somewhere in the middle but I tend to feel the spin I heard first is more true’ I could ask my barber’s opinion.