Nats’ ACC plan only good for insurance companies and lawyers

Written By: - Date published: 5:22 pm, July 16th, 2008 - 49 comments
Categories: national, workers' rights - Tags:

National has confirmed it intends to privatise the ACC scheme starting with opening the work account to private competition. This would see private insurers cream off large and low-risk employers with special deals, leaving the taxpayer to shoulder the burden of the rest (which would, in turn, be the basis for privatising of the remainder).

National says privatisation will somehow bring workplace accident rates down, which it claims are rising. Wrong: workplace accident rates are falling. It claims premiums will fall. Wrong: our premiums are already among the cheapest in the world, and we don’t have to pay anyone’s profits.

Australian insurance companies expect to make $200 million off this privatisation. These profits will be made not by higher premiums but by reduced pay-outs. As you know, that’s how private insurers make profits – by avoiding paying out whenever possible. In practice, that will mean Kiwis missing out on speedy treatment and income coverage, while Aussie insurers get rich.

Part of the genius of ACC is in decoupling blame from compensation. Occupational Safety and Health investigates accidents and holds businesses to health and safety regulations, ACC ensures the injured get treatment and income compensation, and businesses are incentivised to be safe because higher accident rates mean higher levies. Because of this administration of injury compensation leads the world in cheapness and efficiency and there are few court cases. Introducing competing profit-making insurers who are trying to minimise payouts would mean more expensive administration and law suits between individuals, businesses, and insurers tying up the already stretched court system. This was the case before ACC, it’s the case overseas, and it was beginning to happen again when National introduced competition in 1998. The efficiency of ACC is the envy of personal injury law experts around the world* but introducing private insurers will put an end to that.

Only two groups stand to gain from National privatising ACC. Not businesses and workers – insurers and lawyers.

[*I was in a personal injury lecture in Finland, our American professor was introducing the perplexed European students to the common law personal injury litigation system. He concluded that only one common law country had managed find a way to get rid of this resource consuming, lawyer-enriching system. No prizes for guessing which one.]

49 comments on “Nats’ ACC plan only good for insurance companies and lawyers”

  1. infused 1

    Using speedy in the same sentence as ACC is laughable.

  2. Oliver 2

    You do realise that privitise and open to competition are two diferent things. Example, Telecom has been privitised and NZ Post has been opened to competition.

    Just because workplace accident rates are comming down it doesn’t mean that they can’t come down further or faster.

    If private insurers offer incentives to make workplaces safer then they will become safer, though almost every workplace accident I’ve witnessed has come from stupidity or laziness rather than fundamental safety issues.

    As for ACC efficiency, pull the other one, I’ve dealt with more of their absurdly inefficient clusterfucks than I care to mention.

    [it seems Oliver knows better than PriceWaterhouseCoopers who carried out a study of ACC and concluded it was very efficient compared to cover in other countries. Next, Oliver denies the IPCC’s findings on climate change because sometimes he’s cold. SP]

  3. Lew 3

    Now’s a good time to reiterate my challenge to anyone who thinks this isn’t the first step in a privatisation plan, which would ultimately result in the scheme being no longer free to users or universal.


    Edit: Oh, Oliver! Care to have a crack?


  4. MacDoctor 4

    workplace accident rates are falling

    No, Steve, workplace claims are falling. Some large employers are now effectively self-insured, remember?

    our premiums are already among the cheapest in the world

    This is a common misunderstanding. Our premiums are, in fact, heavily subsidized. Where do you think the ACC levy on petrol is going?

    Part of the genius of ACC is in decoupling blame from compensation

    Agreed. And this did not change when National allowed competition into workplace insurance. ACC and the workplace insurer had to sort out exactly what a “workplace accident” was, but this is fairly well defined and caused little disagreement and little use of lawyers. Remember the guy who got stabbed in the company car park in a gang altercation? That is how precise the law is – cause is virtually irrelevant, place of accident is paramount.

    In short, all that happened last time was that we all paid substantially less premium. None of the problems you are suggesting eventuated – and they should have happened within six months of the change, if they were going to.

  5. higherstandard 5


    ACC is not free if you are an employer or an employee.

  6. Of course it’s about privatisation. Opening Post up to competition wasn’t because post has a great big infrastructure and a monopoly position. ACC has an infrastructure that could easily be replicated by pumping up the size of current private health care providers or handled by accident insurers over the ditch. I would imagine that a combination of national government led increased ACC premiums and undercutting competition would see it gone pretty quickly. then the real games could begin…

    Oh and hi blar – why are you posting as oliver now?

  7. Lew 7

    HS: “ACC is not free if you are an employer or an employee.”

    Which is why I qualified it by saying `free to users’. I think my meaning is pretty clear: people making claims don’t get denied treatment because they might not be able to pay.


  8. Lew 8

    MacDoctor: “None of the problems you are suggesting eventuated – and they should have happened within six months of the change, if they were going to.”

    Elementary game theory provides a counter-argument. If a player knows that by taking an aggressive strategy straight away they might have the rules of a game changed upon them, they won’t take that strategy.

    In this case: private insurers would be insane to start undermining the system immediately and risk having the law changed back. If behaving rationally, they’d be very cautious – even to the point of tacit collusion – for the first several years at least, allowing the system to bed in and mature before implementing their full strategy. This is what’s known as `timing one’s run’.


  9. Higherstandard 9


    I understand what you mean now – I’m sure you know that no-one in NZ is denied a first up consultation and treatment regardless of ACC and their ability or not to pay.

    Questions for you though – as per the Nats release on face value I can see absolutely no reason why there shouldn’t be a comprehensive review of the scheme, as long as it’s independent, with the possibility of introducing competition as long as there’s good legislation in place.

    Also having the DRSL converted to a completely independent tribunal seems a reasonable position take.

  10. Finally some choice for NewZealanders, and not being told what we have to do by Aunty Helen.

    Because its come down to choice. Does anyone here really believe that a private company would treat customers the way the government run ACC does.

    How can anyone be against Choice?

  11. Anita 11

    Awesome, National wants worker safety on the election agenda!

    So, what should we be asking for? What policies should we be seeing from parties bidding to showcase their worker safety focus?

    While increasing prosecution rates and encouraging union participation seem like an obvious solution at one end of the spectrum, I doubt they’re all the labour movement has to offer.

    Similarly I doubt that privatising accident rehabilitation and compensation is the only thing the business lobby has to offer.

    Any thoughts?

  12. lprent 12

    How can anyone be against Choice?

    My choice is to be covered by ACC. Does this plan cover me for that. I don’t want my employer to select a private insurer who doesn’t pay up if I have a accident at work or get RSI.

    The last time the Nat’s did this, that is exactly the choice I lost.

  13. Dean 13

    “In practice, that will mean Kiwis missing out on speedy treatment and income coverage, while Aussie insurers get rich.”

    Obviously your definition of speedy is different to mine. Particularly when it comes to how speedy the payments are to the providers of the care.

    I guess that’s something you’ve never looked into SP, or else you’d realise just how hollow and slippery your spin on this subject is.

  14. Dean. Speed is relative. The PWC study shows NZ has a speedy and efficent injury compensation system compared to other countries. Privatisation won’t make it faster, it’ll make it slower because there’ll be more law suits as companies try to avoid liability.

    And that is exactly what was happening in 1999. John Miller is one of the country’s leading ACC lawyers (ie he represents clients suing ACC over borderline issues around cover). He was my torts lecturer and he told us what it was like before ACC and how the same problems were re-emerging in 1998. Remember, he makes money off injury law suits, but he thinks privatisation is a bad idea becasue it ties up the judicial system and delays coverage. He was on National Radio the other day making the same point.

  15. vto 15

    forgive my ignorance but is this not competition only in the employer (i.e. payer) part of the equation? I don’t imagine changing in any way the way I go about going to the doctor when I get injured and getting ACC to pay. Nor any question at all that my compensation will change.

    surely if I get injured I dont have to go to my boss’s ACC insurer. I haven’t even got a boss and I’m not a boss also so what would I do? Fall through the kracks?

  16. Brett. “how can anyone be against choice?”

    So are you for people having the choice to employ private security rather than pay tax for the Police? Because that’s what this ACC policy is like – you take a collective system (ACC, the Police,Defence etc) and its cheap and available to all – then you say ‘you can pull out if you want’, the rich and low risk pull out to save some bucks and the rest of the system becomes a greater burden on the taxpayer until it collapses… overall everyone ends up worse off.

  17. The PC Avenger 17

    “Does anyone here really believe that a private company would treat customers the way the government run ACC does.”

    Of course not.

    They’d treat them worse.

  18. Remember how an insurer makes money – by maximising premiums and minimising payouts. Look at the US health system to see how people get screwed out of coverage for injuries by big insurers with lots who have the money and lawyers to avoid payouts.

  19. Dean 19

    “Dean. Speed is relative. The PWC study shows NZ has a speedy and efficent injury compensation system compared to other countries. Privatisation won’t make it faster, it’ll make it slower because there’ll be more law suits as companies try to avoid liability.”

    Just because other countries may take longer than 6 months on average to pay out for government approved dental care doesn’t meant there isnt room for change, SP. Besides which, do you really think anyone would stick with a private insurer who chose an ACC provider that behaved in such a way? I guess you do.

    I understand that you’re all about waving large, private anything is bad coloured flags but really you might want to talk to private health care providers before you start painting a canvas in such broad strokes. Your propaganda does not match up with reality.

    I mean, you’re even spinning in your first paragraph in this post. The taxpayer would subsidise private ACC schemes? Who do you think subsidises the current one? I know you consider choice of anything the government doesn’t provide to be bad, but your reasoning is shonky on this one.

  20. Dean 20

    “So are you for people having the choice to employ private security rather than pay tax for the Police? Because that’s what this ACC policy is like”

    The police are doing such a bang-up job too, aren’t they. I mean, I’m guessing you’d agree with Helen and Winston over the statements made by the asian community in east Auckland, right?

  21. So, Dean would privatise the Police as well as ACC. Guess we can see this isn’t a moderate policy after all.

    Dean. try to read the whole sentences and get their meaning. You allow private insurers to cherry pick and the taxpayer is left carrying the rest – ACC works so efficently because it is universal, undermine that.

    You bring down a system judged world leading by experts, and for what? A blind belief that the market is always best. You’ve no evidence that private insurers would do better, the international evidence is they do worse, and that $200 million in profits for the insurers has to come from somewhere, ultimately, it’s from the pockets of Kiwis.

  22. johndoe 22

    Hey, guys. Fighting against this one is silly. If National can accept Labour policy without blushing, you should have a rethink about how you’re dealing here. Fixing ACC, which is, on the ground, universally known to be a fumbling, broken, top heavy system especially punitive to small employers and the self employed, should be high on Labour’s agenda. Taking some cues from the Nats and admitting that the system is weak in several key areas (sorry) might not be a bad idea. All this drawing into the second compound as the Nats surge over the first wall of defense is getting wearisome. The right response is not always disparagement.

  23. DSC 08 23

    “‘The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight of hand that was ever invented. Banking was conceived in iniquity and born in sin. Bankers own the Earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough money to buy it back again Take this great power away from them and all great fortunes like mine will disappear, and they ought to disappear, for then this would be a better and happier world to live in. But if you want to continue to be slaves of the banks and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let bankers continue to create money and control credit’.’ – Sir Josiah Stamp, director of the Bank of England during the years 1928-1941

    More cowards than individuals clogging arteries of self-government due to nature and distribution of power in current system.

    Douglas elaborated that for various reasons having to do with the process of production over time, there is always a gap in monetary terms between the value of what is manufactured and the purchasing power needed to consume it. Regarding the factors which cause this gap, Douglas wrote as follows in a 1932 pamphlet, The Old and the New Economics: “Categorically, there are at least the following five causes of a deficiency of purchasing power as compared with collective prices of goods for sale: 1) Money profits collected from the public (interest is profit on an intangible); 2) Savings; i.e., mere abstention from buying; 3) Investment of savings in new works, which create a new cost without fresh purchasing power; 4) Difference of circuit velocity between cost liquidation and price creation which results in charges being carried over into prices from a previous cost accountancy cycle. Practically all plant charges are of this nature, and all payments for material brought in from a previous wage cycle are of the same nature; 5) Deflation; i.e., sale of securities by banks and recall of loans.’

    To End the Rot:
    Douglas went on to propose that the production/consumption gap should be filled by distribution of a cash stipend called a National Dividend, which would actually be the proper share of individuals in the bounty of the nation’s economy and resources. These ideas merge with those of a basic income guarantee as a measure of economic freedom and justice promoted by many economists and advocates today.

    National Dividend, interest and inflation free, up to $14 K per citizen if no percentage used to pay off the national debt.
    This and other Democrats for Social Credit policies will end the hold of self-important experts in ruining what should be a good way of life enjoyed by all.

    DSC 08.

  24. Well said johndoe. As employers, I can say without fear or favour that my wife and I would welcome the opportunity to test the waters with a provider other than ACC. We may still elect to purchase cover for our employess and ourselves through ACC, but it would be nice to have a point of comparison. At the moment we have no option, and despite the fact that we have not made a single claim in five years of operation, our ACC levies have risen to a level where they are almost frightening.

  25. RedLogix 25


    Yes Douglas was perfectly correct.

    But you are not permitted to undermine the real centers of power. Therefore you are to be ignored, ridiculed and marginalised.

    If perchance you persist to the point of being an actual threat to the establishment, you will be dealt with.

  26. infused 26

    What do you do Inventory2? I run a IT business so ACC is really nothing… I think my bill was $45 this year (self employed)

  27. Dean 27

    “So, Dean would privatise the Police as well as ACC. Guess we can see this isn’t a moderate policy after all.”

    I love how you’re not willing to debate the reality of the situation such as the length of time it takes private providers to be paid and instead choose to attack the messenger.

    I’d say it was a total suprise, except that it’s not.

    How about you come back with some actual, real world experience past what you’ve read and then tell me I’d obviously like to privatise the police just because I don’t agree with your banal summary of ACC.

  28. Dean 28

    “[it seems Oliver knows better than PriceWaterhouseCoopers who carried out a study of ACC and concluded it was very efficient compared to cover in other countries. Next, Oliver denies the IPCC’s findings on climate change because sometimes he’s cold. SP”

    And after that, SP will actually post a graph with a timeline of 0 on it to actually prove he understands how statistics ought to be represented.

    Steve, glass houses, stones, shouldn’t throw mate. You really really might think you’re being clever in the way you choose to debate people but in reality you’re being as clever as IB was when he called Craig Ranapia an Uncle Tom.

    PS, IB: I still have the screenshot.

    [IrishBll says: get a life dean.]

  29. Swampy 29

    Of course, the paper you link to provides no proof of your privatisation claims, you are just making that up.

    You also as good as confirmed that low risk people are subsidising the high risk, why should this be acceptable?

  30. Swampy 30

    “The last time the Nat’s did this, that is exactly the choice I lost.”

    Do you have a choice of your employer dealing with the IRD or numerous government departments?

    No. If you want choice like that, start your own business.

  31. Swampy 31

    For all the people talking about $200 million in profit,

    show me proof that there isn’t at least, say, $50 million wasted through ACC being an inefficient government monopoly.

    When the government makes political appointments to the board you know there is not much chance of the thing being that well run.

  32. AndrewE 32

    Not to be too contrary or anything but weren’t we bashing Gerry Brownlee for arguing against even have an investigation into building trains the other day?

    National want to investigate if they can make ACC more efficient.

    A bit of balance chaps!

    [I had been waiting for this line. Well done, AndrewE. The response is this – a public service study is underway on building trains, Labour would like to do it but are waiting for the study. The investigation in National’s case is just a fig leaf – listen to all the National interviews and there is no question in their minds that privatisation of at least the Work account (and possibly other accounts) will go ahead. Noone doubts privatisation will happen under National, building trains may not happen under Labour, it will depend on the study – one is ideological the other is ambitious but pragmatic. SP]

  33. Lew 33

    johndoe: “f National can accept Labour policy without blushing, you should have a rethink about how you’re dealing here.”

    How on earth does this follow? National accepting some of Labour’s policies requires that Labour (ignoring the fact that many of the people here are declared not-Labour voters) should accept National policy uncritically?

    Tell you what: answer my challenge above as to why this is `fixing’ the system and not full privatisation, and I’ll concede it’s worth a look.

    inventory2: “As employers, I can say without fear or favour that my wife and I would welcome the opportunity to test the waters with a provider other than ACC.”

    With respect, this is begging the question: the policy does little or nothing to harm employers; it potentially harms the employed.


  34. Lew 34

    AndrewE: “National want to investigate if they can make ACC more efficient.”

    This is a good point, and its framing value is an extremely smart policy decision from National. This question right here is what this issue will turn on, and the way it’s framed it’s impossible to disagree with. Anyone objecting to it discredits themselves by being anti-progress.

    The next question is: where are National going to get advice which will affirm a privatisation plan? I see that one of two things happens: National appoints someone genuinely independent to investigate the changes, who recommends minor changes not including competition and the deleterious effects I link to above; or they appoint someone from within the insurance-lobby, with a specific mandate for choice [sic] who will recommend what’s in the industry’s best interests. The smart bit about this is that those opposing it have to resort to this VRWC line, which also discredits them.

    However nobody’s actually yet been able to sketch out a future in which choice [sic] doesn’t lead eventually to privatisation, and privatisation to the end of free-to-users universal cover. I can’t abide that.


  35. Matthew Pilott 35

    Inventory2, I don’t know what industry you’re in, but how would you feel if this comes about and you were in, say, the building industry. You look around for this ‘choice’ that should be available, only to find that ‘choice’ only exists for the high-profit low-risk industries. As a result of this, your premiums start to go up which will affect your business, but still no ‘choice’.

    Someone above (found it – Swampy) asked why it’s fair that a high-risk employee is subsidised by a low-risk one. This is not strictly true, there are different levies for different industries. Also ask yourself what would happen if the full cost of the risk were represented for the trades and industry. There would be two outcomes – all prices would rise as, for example, all sparkies put their rates up to account for it.

    The likelihood, though, is that those in a more precarious financial situation would “choose” to go without insurance, as illustrated by the US’ medical insurance situation. Bang, there goes universal cover; some people are risking their lives and livlihoods to make ends meet. How is that better than what we have now? How can that be justified for ‘choice’ for a few in relatively low-risk areas?

    So, in response to johndoe, just because National will go against their core principles in surrender to good policy on numerous fronts doesn’t automatically mean Labour should go against theirs. The PWC report was very ambivalent about the idea a few weeks ago, and if they’re not raving about it, I truly wonder how bad this policy is.

  36. Lew 36

    There’s one other aspect of this policy which bears repeating: the fundamental principle of ACC is that it is no-fault. The fundamental principle of the private insurance business model is that the person at fault bears the costs of an incident. These two principles are not, and never will be, compatible.

    No-fault is the abstraction which allows universal free-to-users cover. It simply couldn’t continue under a fault system, because of the way in which fault is determined: it’s time-consuming, expensive, technical and fraught with legal issues. In cases which aren’t clear-cut, victory tends to favour the party with the best lawyers. In cases where a workplace accident is arguably caused by an employee, this means that employee could in principle be liable for the full costs of the incident, its investigation and remedies.

    Therefore, under such a system, much of the insurance cost is displaced from ACC or its privatised equivalent onto personal liability insurance, privately taken. In the first place this means a transfer of cost from employers to employees – great, say employers. However if individuals need cover, then cover will become the norm and organisations will need more cover; they’ll be required to be covered for organisation liability as a condition of credit, for government contracts, etc.

    So it looks to me like a lose-lose.


  37. Swampy 37

    Labour’s core policy is simply that ACC is another opportunity where Labour can have a government monopoly on a service. That’s all there is to it. All the spin is focused around that.

    ACC has an extremely political board with Ross Wilson of the CTU at the top. That shows the extent to which Labour would have it that ACC is just another government department.

    Part of it, of course, is just another opportunity to have a go at employers, which are characteristically portrayed as greedy profiteers by the CTU and Labour alike. When you see the manufacturers closing up shop and moving overseas, it’s a good sign they have had enough of the treatment they get here.

  38. Matthew Pilott 38

    Labour’s core policy is simply that ACC is another opportunity where Labour can have a government monopoly on a service. That’s all there is to it.

    No Swampy, that’s just your view. ACC is an example where a universal and compulsory system can provide for the people of NZ far better than a private and competitive system. Saying anything apart from that is just partisan spin.

  39. Oliver 39

    Steve Pierson,

    Just because something is very efficient doesn’t mean it can’t be more efficient. The NHW11 Toyota Prius that was released in 2000 is a very fuel efficient vehicle, but the NHW20 Toyota Prius that came out in 2004 is an even more efficient vehicle.


    If the legislation surrounding competition for ACC is done correctly it won’t lead to you dire predictions. Key has said that the same minimum cover must be provided and that insurers will not be allowed to merely cherrypick.

    Fianlly for all of you: NZ Post has been open to competition for a very long time now, has it been privatised?

  40. Swampy 40

    “a public service study is underway on building trains, Labour would like to do it but are waiting for the study.”…
    “listen to all the National interviews and there is no question in their minds that privatisation of at least the Work account (and possibly other accounts) will go ahead. Noone doubts privatisation will happen under National”…
    “building trains may not happen under Labour, it will depend on the study – one is ideological the other is ambitious but pragmatic. ”

    Labour would like to build trains, they can always find some more taxpayer’s money to spend on vote buying. The tax cuts are a sham because tax collection is still rising.

    Unlike yourself I have no concern about what National is saying in the media. I don’t have to put words in their mouth. I can do that to the Labour Party any time given their devious record.

    Now, which other countries in the world follow the NZ model of ACC provision?

    If you don’t like employers being able to choose insurers then make employees take out the insurance individually and they can choose who they want to be insured with. After all, this is where the primary benefits lie, to employees.

    National has at least said it is going to look at the way the scheme runs. Labour has got a closed mind. They will still want employers to insure because with their ideology it is a big stick they can wield against employers.

  41. Lew 41


    Answer these questions:

    1. Do you think universal no-fault free-for-users workplace accident cover is important in NZ?
    2. Do you think such cover would persist under a privatised ACC scheme?
    3. Do you think opening up the Worker Account to private providers in the name of choice won’t result in eventual privatisation?

    Rationale for your answers would be nice, too, if you want them to have any credibility.

    I’m all for reforming ACC’s governance, if that’s where you think the problems lie. I’m all for streamlining small claims and incentivising workplace safety and other non-structural changes designed to make the system run better, without undermining it. This is not what choice [sic] will do.


  42. Lew 42

    Oliver: “If the legislation surrounding competition for ACC is done correctly it won’t lead to you dire predictions. Key has said that the same minimum cover must be provided and that insurers will not be allowed to merely cherrypick.”

    How can National prevent cherry-picking (while providing the current minimums the policy promises) without compulsion and stringent regulation? Do you accept that to achieve these goals the competition scheme National proposes must contain a compulsion clause which forces any insurer participating in the Worker Account to a. accept applicants from any industry regardless of risk profile and b. regulate prices within certain (very strict) bounds? Do you think the insurance industry will accept these strictures?

    If not compelled by regulation to do so, insurers will offer cover at premium rates which are profitable to them. Because there’s a correlation between low-income/low-margin industries and dangerous industries, this would mean those industries would be priced out of the market, which is cherry-picking by default. They’d be left with the default provider (ACC). Go back and reread my 6-point schema and tell me what bits you think aren’t borne out by elementary behavioural economics and game theory.

    “Fianlly for all of you: NZ Post has been open to competition for a very long time now, has it been privatised?”

    Mail is an infrastructure service which historically loses money but is nonetheless necessary for civilised society. NZ Post currently makes money because of KiwiBank. You’re not comparing apples with apples.


  43. Matthew Pilott 43

    Fianlly for all of you: NZ Post has been open to competition for a very long time now, has it been privatised?

    So have roads, as far as I’m aware. False dichotomy.

  44. insider 44


    Re POst, isn;t it the other way round? I thought Kiwibank is falsely profitable because it is piggybacking on the NZ Post retail network at an unrealistically low cost.

  45. Lew 45

    insider: I haven’t seen the data; I’m working on anecdote (incidentally from John Key). As I understand it, the retail network is sunk cost (capital), so deploying further retail services in it has been extremely efficient. The postal business apparently loses money due to decreasing regular bulk-snail-mail volumes, and will continue to become less viable as, for instance, bank statements go digital.


  46. insider 46


    I too was going on anecdote. One of whcih was that NZ Post were actually doing well because of increased bulk mail due to advertising and marketing direct mail.

    Also re the sunk cost, yes but the point was that that has not been charged at a market rate and allowed Kiwibank far greater market access than it would have otherwise had – a cross subsidy.

  47. Felix 47

    So Kiwibank gets a good deal, NZ Post gets a good deal, both get to provide the country with much needed services and everyone wins.

    Isn’t public ownership of assets neat?

  48. Ari 48

    Questions for you though – as per the Nats release on face value I can see absolutely no reason why there shouldn’t be a comprehensive review of the scheme, as long as it’s independent, with the possibility of introducing competition as long as there’s good legislation in place.

    A review I have no problem with, but on matters of privatisation and degradation of public assets I don’t even trust the Nats as far as I can throw them.

    Competition with ACC would be okay, so long as the insurers must follow exactly the same rules as ACC- including the the inability to deny responsibility of cover, the inability to turn away high-risk customers, and fair pricing controls that don’t let them charge disproportionately for high-risk cases. However, I highly doubt National is envisioning equal competition between ACC and private insurers.

  49. Swampy 49

    I’m just interested for someone to tell me why it is the employer’s responsibility to pay for ACC cover for their employees.

    If I want health insurance, I make my own choice and payment arrangements.

    The question of employer’s liability is amply covered by the existing OSH requirements and laws.

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    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy
    15 hours ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    1 day ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 day ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    1 day ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    2 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    4 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    5 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    6 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    6 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    6 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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