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Nats want more expensive ACC so private insurers can profit

Written By: - Date published: 10:48 am, February 18th, 2012 - 127 comments
Categories: ACC, privatisation - Tags:

Private sector competition brings market disciplines and efficiencies to bloated publicly-owned monopolies. That’s the mantra, eh? That’s the indisputable truth… right? So, how come the Nats are planning to make ACC raise its levies and pay a dividend – for the first time ever – so that private insurers can compete? And how does that benefit NZ?

That the Nats are looking to raise ACC levies, having just dropped them in October, following hikes in 2010 that were needed to ‘save ACC’ (actually, ACC’s ‘crisis’ was just the fall in its reserves’ value because of the gobal financial crisis and it was ‘saved’ by those values rising again, not anything National did). But the annoyance and seeming incompetence of chopping and changing levy levels all the time isn’t as big a deal as why they want to raise the levies.

Here‘s the crucial bit:

The papers showed ACC “would be subject to regulatory safeguards to ensure it sets prices responsibly” and proposed legislation would require ACC to ”price prudently by incorporating a surplus margin into prices”.

ACC would also be required to pay built up reserves to the Government to “avoid a build-up of excess reserves that could reduce financial disciplines or be used by ACC to reduce its prices (which would make it difficult for insurers to compete)”.

So, ACC would be required to charge us more than it needs and then give that money to the government. It’s called a dividend.

That was never part of the deal. When New Zealanders’ gave away our right to sue for personal injury (and thereby realised massive savings in our court system) the quid pro quo was that we would get comprehensive, universal no-fault injury insurance that would be funded by universal, limited purpose levies. ACC has never had any right to raise money other than to pay for insurance claims and administration (which, for ACC is a far lower cost than for private insurers). The government can’t now try to grab some of that money as a backdoor tax for its general operations.

And it certainly can’t do that to give private insurers an easier time competing against ACC by raising the price New Zealanders pay for injury insurance. How is it good for New Zealand if we pay more on our ACC levies so that foreign insurers are able to come in here and make a profit?

We end up paying more for the same service. In fact, for a diminished service because private insurers make their money by not making payouts. They spend a huge amount of money on lawyers trying to get out of paying policyholders for claims, or shifting the liability for those claims to other insurers.

Don’t look for the economic or social logic to this. It doesn’t exist. This is simply more of National’s relentless privatisaton agenda; their ideological obsession with destroying publicly-owned wealth and letting the private sector vultures feast on the carcass.

127 comments on “Nats want more expensive ACC so private insurers can profit ”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Surely the NATs business and chamber of commerce mates aren’t going to put up with this nonsense, simply to advantage the private insurers…especially as they are already sucking businesses across the South Island dry.

  2. George D 2


    • Lanthanide 2.1

      Yes, it really is.

      It makes me wonder why the opposition parties can’t just come out and accuse the government of fraud. They released the information that shows that the interest savings from the sale of state assets will not outweigh the lost dividends, despite the repeated statements that that wasn’t true before the election. Can’t they just stand up in parliament and say “this government is a fraud, they deliberately lied to the people of new zealand leading up to the election for the sole purpose of getting elected, here’s the proof”.

  3. mikesh 3

    It’s the same with state owned power companies. We pay higher power prices, allowing them to pay a “dividend” to government, so that privately owned companies such as Contact and Vector will be able to compete. Crazy.

  4. burt 4

    One size fits all…. It’s got to go… The sooner we break this disgraceful self serving monopoly apart the better.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Trust you to diss ACC, a system the envy of the world, while promoting private insurers who themselves are the very definition of self serving. Grow a fucking brain.

      • burt 4.1.1

        ACC, a system the envy of the world

        That no other country has been stupid enough to pretend it can afford…. Yet we persist because it fits the easy sell of socialist ideology…

        Every other country in the world needs to grow a fucking brain and put political expediency ahead of fiscal reality in the best interests of a single political parties electability…..

        • Colonial Viper

          What are you talking about, “unaffordable”?. You’d claim that private health insurance systems are more affordable than ACC?

          WTF. You must be referring to the US system where health spend is twice as high as NZ per capita, but health outcomes are worse for the vast majority because most of that is taken up in private insurance administration and private insurance profits.

          Get with the programme you dinosaur and start using your intellect in the interests of your country for once.

        • KJT

          First principle of insurance. Spreading the risk as much as possible. A State run scheme with full membership is always going to be cheaper than private insurance for that reason alone.

          Ask yourself how much it would cost to replace benefits (State income insurance) with individual privateer schemes, with the same cover.

          • burt

            Yes, the Karori Woman’s knitting club just love subsidising my mountain bike injuries….

            Shit I spent so much on my bike I simply couldn’t afford an extra premium to cover that risk… luck the old biddies don’t mind helping me out.

            • Colonial Viper

              And you subsidise the fall and broken hip they receive while going to knitting club. What’s the problem? We’re a society and we should help each other out.

              • burt

                Yes, that’s right… because they go about such risky activities as walking around supermarkets and walking to their letter box on rainy days deliberately knowing that I’ll help cover the cost… Shit I just hurl myself down muddy tracks at high speed dodging tress and trying not to fly over banks – it’s so comparable…. The reckless old biddies…

                I hear they are impressed with the ACC proportion of their vehicle registration when calculated as a cost per km as well. They really like how they pay the same (one size fits all) as boy racers in high powered modified vehicles.

                Hell their 1100 cc toyota’s going to the supermarket and the knitting club are so comparable to twin turbo vehicles being driving at 180 kph by inexperienced drivers.

                But one size fits all is best apparently….

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Yes burt, it is.

                  • burt

                    So if it is… why was my 1,000 cc motorbike carrying more ACC levies than my 125 cc scooter….

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Now you’re changing the goal posts again. Just can’t admit to the reality can you?

                    • burt

                      The reality is that socialists want someone else to pay for the shit they use.

                      I’ve paid a shit load of money for a very good mountain bike, it’s a risky business riding it. Yet there is no extra cost on me for taking that risk…

                      I think that’s shit. It’s good for me I guess because I get to spend more on my kit and get more flashy toys to take risks on. I’m pleased you like covering the costs of me being panel beaten from time to time… You are a good socialist and your generosity allows me to spend more on myself.

                    • Matt

                      Because the actuaries figured out that hoons riding superbikes were statistically a lot more likely to munt themselves than some Korean girl riding her scooter to Uni, but the KPMG partner with his 911 Turbo wasn’t a lot more likley to get in a shunt than Joe Blow going to the supermarket in his Starlet?


                    • Colonial Viper

                      The reality is that socialists want someone else to pay for the shit they use.

                      The reality is we live in communities and societies together, not in isolated individual silos.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The people having accidents are subsidised by those who don’t. That’s the whole point of insurance (and society BTW) as no single person can afford the full costs.

                    • burt


                      A mate and I have both been riding motorbikes for years. In the last 12 years he’s stacked his motorbike twice with spectacular results…

                      He can’t get insurance anymore for his bikes so he’s riding a much lower quality bike now. Meanwhile we still both pay the same ACC levies… It’s cool eh. So simple to administer….

                      Funny how the insurers of the bike itself have said – hey no way… but the insurers of his health costs – they can’t be bothered to acknowledge that he’s more risky than someone else….. It’s easier to make the grannies pay more for their car registration.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      burt, it’s like this: The more complication you add the more it costs. Adding competition and individualised rates adds complication thus adding to the costs. That’s why the US health system is so expensive – lost of competition, lots of (duplicated) administration, lots of advertising, lots of profit – fuck all health services.

                      Go the way you and NAct want and we will end up paying two to three times as much as we do now. Considering how much cheaper do you really think I’m going to be concerned with a little cross subsidy? Not fucken likely – only the morons who vote National, Act, Maori Party or UF would be.

                    • burt


                      If you post up your email address I’ll send you the contact details for my mate who can’t get motorbike insurance (that he can actually afford). I’m sure if you chip in a few thousand a year for him he’ll thank you for that. It’s fair right ?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      But it wouldn’t be a “few thousand” would it burt? It’d be a few cents as we’d have everybody paying in. As I said – that’s how insurance works. The problem with private corporation based insurance is that we have competition driving up costs and profits driving down payouts.

                      And if he keeps having accidents the way you say he does he probably should have stopped riding motorbikes (and probably driving) a long time ago. Actually, we should probably withdraw permission for him to drive as he’s an obvious danger on the road.

                    • burt


                      Do you see the complete contradiction in your position…

                      We apparently must have a no fault system because that’s apparently a good thing then you go and say …

                      Actually, we should probably withdraw permission for him to drive as he’s an obvious danger on the road.

                      So in your world view a no fault system fits nicely with a command and control system – only a socialist would take this position….

                    • McFlock

                      Damned command and control socialists, insisting that vehicle drivers and riders should be reasonably able to avoid crashes.
                      Or should we wait until your friend injures or kills someone else?

                    • felix

                      So if accident compensation was privatised and run by the same companies who won’t give your mate any insurance cover now…

                    • burt


                      That’s his problem…. Really it is. But he can choose to ride without his bike insured if he wants to.

                      I’ve got no issue with that. Really I haven’t. The thing is there is no ACC recognition that he’s a risk and his cost is just socialised. Apparently that’s a good thing – but apparently we should also stop him riding his motorbike or even driving. So no fault turns into “not allowed to be at fault” go figure.

                      Socialists seem like highly confused creatures some times.

                    • burt


                      Or should we wait until your friend injures or kills someone else?

                      The no fault system encourages this – that’s they key point I’m actually making. So we have a no fault system but we modify the risk by being nanny and telling people what they can and can’t do…. What a shitty world you socialists want.

                      Please tell me what your threshold would be for banning people from driving or riding motorbikes. Is 1 crash the limit.. 2 ? 2 in 12 years…

                      Please explain how completely restricting freedom of individuals is better than modifying their behaviour using the easiest option we have – risk assessment translated into costs…..

                    • McFlock

                      “No fault” is for civil liability, not criminal. Criminal liability is the deterrent, not bankruptcy through medical bills.
                      And requiring a certain level of ability to control a vehicle is not totalitarian – it’s called driver licensing. I would not actually have an issue with people causing injury crashes being required to undertake driver training, because obviously they need it. With periods of disqualification if they obviously learn nothing. Or are you also opposed to sustained loss of traction offences?

                    • felix

                      burt, it’s up to the courts to revoke people’s licenses if they’re dangerous on the road. They do this all the time, as they bloody well should. Not sure why you think that’s tied to your mate’s insurance status though or what it has to do with socialism.

                      (Unless this is one of those “any govt is tyranny” arguments of course)

                      As far as being a greater insurance risk, I ask again: So what?

                      People do ride motorbikes and fish off the rocks and ride skateboards on half-pipes and surf on reefs and do dangerous jobs and cross the road without looking and fall over in the bath and get affected by loud noise and get assaulted by cretins and cut themselves gardening and bump their heads on doorways and burn themselves on the stove and any number of other things every day.

                      And everyone is cross-subsidising all of those things for everyone else. You and your mountain bike just ain’t as special as you think.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The no fault system encourages this – that’s they key point I’m actually making.

                      No it doesn’t as it has nothing to do with being dangerous.

                      Please explain how completely restricting freedom of individuals is better than modifying their behaviour using the easiest option we have – risk assessment translated into costs…..

                      So, according to you people should be allowed to endanger others no matter what…

                      Gotcha. You’re one of these libertarians that’s thinks oppressing others rights to not be negatively influenced by you so that you can do whatever you like is liberty.

                    • burt

                      OK Great we rovoke his licence and he rides a motorbike and crashes… we still pay to patch him up… again and again…

                      I guess it would be so wrong to slap a $40K medical bill on him as we lock him up for driving without a licence….

                      No fault and all that right …. I guess it would be wrong if we give him a condition of riding a motorbike that he pays the first $10K of medical bills – hell the motorbike is worth more than that but … no it would be wrong to make him pay – much easier if we just share the cost. One size fits all ….

                    • McFlock

                      Much cheaper bureaucracy-wise if we pay the bill. Even in your worst-case scenario, I think the problem would solve itself before the bills began to be noticable in the greater scheme of things.
                      I mean, you might be happy for your “mate” to lie untreated in the gutter because he already owes $30k, but if dangerous driving and driving w/o license charges don’t teach him a lesson, medical bills won’t.
                      And he’d become an organ donor pretty quick, by the sounds of it. So really we should thank him for his sacrifice, not begrudge him a few grand in medical bills. /sarc

                    • felix

                      I can see why it winds you up burt. Really, I mean that.

                      I believe that you fundamentally think of us as representing independent economic units making transactions with each other, and you want to know that all the transactions balance and are accounted for. That no one is paying more than their share and everyone is individually responsible for the consequences of their actions – at least theoretically, I mean we are talking about accidents after all. It’s not always someone’s fault.

                      I get that. I don’t see the world that way but I get that you do.

                      I don’t consider us individual economic units at anything more than a superficial level. All the important things we do, we do together. In families, in teams, in iwi, in work gangs, in companies, in communities, and as a society.

                      And in a group it’s not aberrant behaviour to pay for things you don’t use the precise value of yourself, just as it isn’t unusual to work on projects that you don’t recieve the sole benefit from. By pooling resources and skills we’re all better off. The tribe does better because no individual has all the skills and resources that the tribe has.

                      That’s society. That’s humanity. We’re quite simply in it together.

                      It seems to me that the fundamental difference of views here is that you want all the transactions to balance at an individual level while others see more value in having a system which is more efficient overall and serves the needs of the society as a whole.

                      I don’t see you changing anyone’s mind about this unless you can show that your model could operate more efficiently than the current one.

                      And so far there’s no way. The dead weight of profit, the adversarial litigation, and the duplication of administrative functions see to that.

                      What we have works better, provides more, and costs less than anything you’ve proposed so far. I don’t see how you’re going to get around that.

                    • RedLogix

                      Very concise felix. A pleasure to read.

                    • burt


                      I believe that you fundamentally think of us as representing independent economic units making transactions with each other, and you want to know that all the transactions balance and are accounted for. That no one is paying more than their share and everyone is individually responsible for the consequences of their actions – at least theoretically, I mean we are talking about accidents after all. It’s not always someone’s fault.

                      That’s a nice simplification. Well done. Your following comments about the tribe doing better than individuals make more sense. But tribes also banish individuals for all sorts of reasons.

                      Human nature will happily carry a ‘weight’ where the individual can’t help that ‘weight’. That’s one of the good things about human nature compared to say a herd of buffalo. But stupidity, recklessness and complete disregard for others becomes another issue.

                      The ACC mentality seems to take the approach that no action to modify an individuals behaviour will be taken… it’s simply not easy to administer and therefore not “efficient”.

                      If what we have works better, provides more, and costs less than anything I’ve proposed so far then why is NZ the only country in the world enlightened enough to put ease of administration ahead of all else ?

                      There is no getting around the fact we stand alone having a no fault one size fits all system – why is that?

                    • burt


                      Another analogy that fits here is RUC paid by diesel vehicles v generic tax on petrol.

                      Under the ACC one size no fault model we would simply say a 50t truck uses more diesel than a 3t truck and add a road maintenance tax as a cost per liter of diesel?

                      Why don’t we do that ? Surely it would be a lot easier and cheaper to just say a per liter charges are more efficient because them nasty hubodometer manufactures are just scooping profit from all the truckies and that’s just inefficient?

                      Hey a 1,000cc vehicle uses less petrol than a 6,000cc V8 so it all kind of washes up right ? Easy peasy …. is it right ?

                      Another approach would be to tax tires, hell if you blast through a set of tires on the twin turbo in 15,000k’s then surely you are doing more damage to the roads than a V8 driven carefully getting 40,000k’s out of a set of tires….

                      The other instance where ACC fails considerably is that the “accident” cost is apportioned to a vehicle, not a driver. Now vehicle insurance acknowledges that different demographics have different accident risk profiles and that risk is reflected in policy premiums. But not ACC… Hell I have 3 registered vehicles and I can only drive one at a time – Most of the time they all sit at home while I ride my bicycle – which has no ACC component attached to it….

                      IMHO ACC road accident levies should be levied on the driver, adjsuted by age in the same way that vehicle insurance is – I get that it’s not in the best interest of a monopoly state insurer to manage that – but it’s a shit load more fair and equitable.

                    • felix

                      But burt, we already pay different ACC levies depending on the type of work we do.

                      I’m not sure exactly what you’re proposing we do differently.

                      As for why no other countries have systems as good as ours, you’d have to ask Price Waterhouse Coopers about that.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      There is no getting around the fact we stand alone having a no fault one size fits all system – why is that?

                      Dunno burt, why do you think it is that all other countries go for the least cost effective option that enriches a few at everyone else’s expense?

                • mik e

                  burt your lucidity is unbelievable one size fits all or are we going to have secret police running around and checking on every bodies activities .Something so simple is to complicated for you to work out burt.
                  Having a simple system is much easier to administer.
                  So if the knitting club all have a bus crash while visiting another knitting club the boy racers will pay as well or if the knitting club all come down with RSI why should the boy racers pay.Also some boy/girl racers obey the law and just drive round in their hotted up cars looking good.

                  • burt

                    Mik e

                    burt your lucidity is unbelievable one size fits all or are we going to have secret police running around and checking on every bodies activities

                    ACC levies are no harder to tailor than other insurance costs. You have regular motor vehicle accidents and your motor vehicle insurance costs are higher – it’s not really rocket science. But I get that it’s not the socialist way…

                    Tell me why don’t we have one size fits all insurance for everything ? It would be so simple if the overall costs associated with say vehicle insurance we just divided equally between all vehicle registrations – would you go for that ?

                    • KJT

                      What a good idea. Lets have one Government insurance provider for all house, contents, vehicle and other insurance.

                      The costs of competition would go and premiums could be much cheaper for more comprehensive cover. Just like ACC.

                      Not to mention the lessening effects on the national debt off reducing offshore profits.

                      Burt!. You have hit the nail on the head!

                    • burt


                      For some reason the state don’t seem to want to take that one on… I wonder why that is…

                    • felix

                      Yep KJT I agree, that’s a bloody good idea. Especially seeing as it’s the state (i.e. all of us) who shell out when the shit really hits the fan anyway.

                      Good work burt.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      For some reason the state don’t ant to take that one on… I wonder why that is…

                      Coz NATs are working for the private corporate insurance sector, not for ordinary NZers.

                    • burt

                      Oh, remember to be like our insane ACC system it would need to be completely “no fault”. So hey if you are stupid and burn your own house down because you thought it would be fun to see how long it took to burn then collectively we would all just pay for a new one for you.

                    • Zetetic

                      self-inflicted injuries and injuries from the commission of a crime are not covered by ACC except for treatment – no income insurance in these cases.

                      By analogy, the public home insurer would cover putting out the fire you start (we already have a public and universal fire-putting-out insurance scheme called the Fire Service) but not the cost of rebuilding your house or the cost of your accommodation during the rebuild.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Burt you just made up your own meaning of ACC’s no fault practitioner principle and applied it to arson.

                      Shit you’re dumbass.

                    • burt

                      self-inflicted injuries

                      Like falling off my mountain bike… I think I chose to ride it…. Perhaps [somebody else] made me do it and that’s why the time of work still gets covered….

                      Rugby players…. who forces them to run onto the field ?

                    • burt


                      Prove it was arson…. In my example I said the person was stupid enough to see how long it would take… but hey if they said “I fell asleep while cooking some chips” and they started the fire in the kitchen…

                      It’s OK though because even if they had done it 300 times over the last 20 years the ACC model would rather just share the costs to other people than actually tag that person as high risk and increase their levies accordingly.

                    • McFlock

                      if arson were that easy to get away with, fire insurance wouldn’t be available because of all the insurance fraud that went on.

            • James Henderson

              Burt. stop trolling and explain why you do or don’t support the government’s move to increase ACC levies and make it pay a dividend so that private insurers can enter the market, also charging higher premiums with the result that NZ pays more for injury insurance for more fragmented and uncertain coverage.

              If you can’t elucidate a position on the topic of the post, take a week off.

            • Foreign Waka

              Yes, she will! As long as you support her fractured hip when she gets old and frail – you anti social brick.

            • KJT

              Yeah. I just love paying $200 extra a year insurance to private companies, to pay for Christchurch ,when the insurance companies should be paying for it, out of the profits from the insurance premiums they were paid over the last 50 years.

            • Vicky32

              Yes, the Karori Woman’s knitting club just love subsidising my mountain bike injuries….
              Shit I spent so much on my bike I simply couldn’t afford an extra premium to cover that risk… luck the old biddies don’t mind helping me out.

              And so you blithely assume that none of the ‘old biddies’ (sexist and ageist, well done!) goes mountain biking herself? Note – it’s a very unwarranted assumption. My sister (an old biddy by your standards) goes tramping and also rides an off-road motorbike)

              • burt

                My sister (an old biddy by your standards) goes tramping and also rides an off-road motorbike)

                Good on her, I’m pleased to hear that. I apologize if my generalizations offend you. I can see how you might read them as sexist and ageist but really I didn’t intend to have that effect.

                As a younger man I have been blown into the dust by older woman while tramping, their stamina and hardiness are formidable. I learnt a valuable lesson back then about making assumption based on age, it’s a shame it appears like I have forgotten it – I haven’t really.

                But hey, are you here to just have a go at me, or is ACC and the one size fits all conundrum something you also have views on ?

                • Colonial Viper

                  or is ACC and the one size fits all conundrum something you also have views on ?

                  I dunno is Apple also a one size fits all conundrum?

                  • burt

                    What the hell… The day we can only buy Apple computers due to an act of parliament prohibiting other suppliers from selling their products in our market you’ll be bang on… But I’m sure given you love of nanny state you’ll be defending it. Perhaps you should get some sleep CV……

          • Fortran

            Having made numerous enquiries (being ex insurance) I cannot find any Insurance Company who will undertake ACC work as before.
            They have been stuffed by Christchurch and do not have the time to consider ACC in the forseeable future.
            Could somebody tell me of one please.

          • Vicky32

            Ask yourself how much it would cost to replace benefits (State income insurance) with individual privateer schemes, with the same cover.

            That reminds me of the late 1990s, when the same ideas were floated, and in fact private insurance was being invited to ‘compete’. The Herald was against the idea (!) and ran a series of articles about it. In one of them, it asked all the private insurance companies to give quotes for coverage for people in various occupations. What was notable was the number of occupations the private insurers refused to cover! Most notable, crane operators. (There had recently been a dreadful accident in which a crane operator on a building site had been rendered quadriplegic.) * I can’t remember what they said about home handymen – my Italian friend in Welly was seriously injured at work when he fell 4 metres off a balcony – 5 years later, he’s still disabled but works when he at all can, as ACC keep giving him grief… 
            In almost all cases where the private insurers agreed they’d cover someone, the premium was at least one and a half times the ACC levy.
            * Years later, ACC declared this quadriplegic man ‘work ready’ and wanted to cut his ACC, as he still had his voice, and could work as a telemarketer! Insane.

            • burt

              That sort of treatment by ACC is all to common. It’s unfortunate that many people see ACC as some caring state provider when really they are as profit (cost reduction) motivated as any private company.

              As an employer in 1998 I don’t agree that (in almost all cases) private insurance premiums were a least 1.5 times the ACC levies, my company almost halved it’s work place insurance costs during that time but quickly lost that saving when ACC was re-nationalised in a move Muldoon would have been proud of.

              I do agree that some industries had significant cost increases for insurance, but looking at the details at the time I couldn’t help but see that as a reduction in cross subsidisation. The private insures had no political motive to socialise the risks outside of where they actually belonged.

              It’s quite possible that if your friend had a private insurance ‘contract’ at the time of his accident that he wouldn’t now be fighting for the continuation of what he was ‘promised’ at the time. This is one area where I think ACC fails miserably, it’s compensation is litterally ‘compensation de-jour’. You never know from one year to the next what your levies will provide you with in the advent of an accident – they just collect the fees and very the conditions for compensation as they go along.

              Using private insurers however requires careful reading of the contract and comparing the benefits between suppliers compared to the premiums – but you can chose a cost/cover mix that you think is appropriate – not even remotely possible with ACC. The state is you nanny and knows what you should pay and what you need in return.

              • Colonial Viper

                Wow still shilling for the ailing rip off US private insurance model

                • burt

                  Did you read what Vicky32 said ?

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Oh noes, ACC isn’t perfect – still, it’s a damn site better than private insurance companies.

                    • Carol

                      And it seems to me ACC has got meaner in what it provides for rehab/recover since the NAct government came into being and started to focus on cutting costs & prepping ACC for privatisation.

                      However, I’m very grateful for what ACC has provided for me in the first place and, for the most part it has worked efficiently – operations, lost income payments for a month or so, a certain amount of physio etc, visits at work from an occupational therapist…. and there are procedures for contesting the stopping of physio.

        • Matt

          On behalf of everyone who knows first hand about the US health care system and how it is corrupted and co-opted by private insurers, you’re an idiot.

          • happynz

            Yup. The horribly high cost of health insurance and the absolutely ridiculous byzantine bureaucracy that has to be navigated to get simple health matters attended to is the reason I no longer live in the US and it counts as one of the reasons why I have no desire to return to that country. How many people here would be keen on paying $1,500 a month for premiums, $10,000 deductibles?

            • Matt

              Absolutely, ACC is one of the things I like best about living in NZ. It’s certainly not wages, nor tax rates, nor the prices or quality of consumer goods, nor WOFs. But I very much like that an injury, even if you’re a serial self destructive fucktard like burt, will not bankrupt your family to pay the medical costs. Only a lunatic would want to undermine something which NZ has done so well.

              • McFlock

                the tax rates are actually pretty good

                • Matt

                  Nominal rates are one thing and real, effective tax rates are another. For example there is no mortgage interest deduction in NZ, which is particularly notable since mortgage interest rates here are a) generally higher and b) not fixed for the life of the loan. In the US there is also no GST, which like all similar taxes is pretty regressive, and every US state sales tax rate is far lower.

                  The flip side is in the US there is no ACC or public health system comparable to NZ’s until you’re on medicare, so taxes here cover something which would be a (large) out of pocket expense in the US.

                  In short, our tax burden here is larger than in the US, but some big things are covered by that added tax which mitigates a lot of it. God bless ACC, though we’ve been fortunate enough to not need it so far.

                  • McFlock

                    But the NZ govt tax burden is pretty much the limit of taxes – no state or county income taxes also coming into the picture.

        • Foreign Waka

          You must be one of the people with the head in the sand. You have no idea what you are talking about. There is a legal framework in place for this system, trust me. And when that is gone anyone and everybody can sue the hospital, practitioner etc. All that will happen is that we truly become a 3rd world country in which the very few – and mark my words there will only be a very few – can afford health care. And by the way, all the taxes collected today as an ACC levy, payroll – driver license- petrol- you name it, they better get that one off my bill if that happens. The reason the health bill is not affordable is that the tax goes in to the general collective and none of it is distributed in % to the area for which is was collected in the first place. Right now, most of the road user charges (ACC) is going to Auckland’s infrastructure. It maybe better to use it for Christchurch rebuild. ACC has been collected via insurances for decades for that very reason. Research the issue before you give those statement.
          Oh by the way, the only “other” country that cannot afford health care because it became a share market rort is the USA. If you look to Europe you will find a different approach. But if you just belief what the propaganda tells you, of cause hauling with the wolfs becomes second nature.

        • Draco T Bastard

          That no other country has been stupid enough to pretend it can afford.

          Um, burt, you did notice the bit about the government forcing ACC to up its fees so that the private corporates can compete didn’t you?

          The simple reality is that our ACC is amongst the most cost effective accident compensation schemes in the world. NAct are arguing that we need to make it more expensive and they’re not even saying that introducing competition will cheaper any more.

          • burt

            Oh I see, when Labour put ACC levies up it is to provide better service and acknowledge the increasing cost of medical care – but when National put them up it is to make it easier for private insurers… That’s great… lets be so fucking partisan we are completely stupid and forget what the fees are actually for…. One size fits all – yeah baby pay pay pay.

            • Zetetic

              the ACC papers say that they want to put levies up to allow private competition. There is nothing about extending services. The extra levies will be paid to the Crown as a dividend.

            • Draco T Bastard

              but when National put them up it is to make it easier for private insurers

              That’s what they’re saying burt. Didn’t you read the post? Where it actually shows that’s exactly what they’re doing.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              I don’t think we’d have a problem if there were actual services planned for the levy- this is partly softening the market for privatisation, and partly National desperately searching for money to cover its asset sales budget hole.

            • bbfloyd

              still making a virtue of willful stupidity eh berty??? can you tell me the rate the ladies sewing circle pays? and their classification?… and can you tell me how much a painter pays in acc levies… as a comparison?…… do you have the first clue regarding the structures, and systems in place now??

              from every wasted word you write, your willful ignorance shines through….. you have managed to irritate me with your blind, willful stupidity….. you prove the case for why it is such a good system whilst attempting to impersonate someone who genuinely wishes to debate seriously….and i’m sure you fail to notice the inherent contradictions in every word you write….

              your playacting is as obvious as your bigotry and ignorance…. and why people bother to take the time to inform you i will never know…..i applaud their patience….

        • Shane Gallagher

          I am a business owner. I used to live in the rest of the world a lot – in fact I grew up there – ACC is amazing both to me as an individual and as a business owner. It is cheaper than anything elsewhere and is universal and I don’t have to worry about people bringing personal injury claims against our company as ACC handles all that. I don’t have to worry when I injure myself at work as I just go through ACC. It is a brilliant system. Why anyone would want to degrade it is beyond me – except that is sets an example of a state-run enterprise that out-performs the private sector and so must be eliminated.

          • burt

            Forestry employers like ACC – Office employers mot so much….

            • Foreign Waka

              And so do Rugby players earning heaps, or for that matter any sportsperson…

            • felix

              So what?

              Some forestry workers are probably more accident prone than others by virtue of their nature.

              They’re being subsidised by other forestry workers too. And so what?

              And people in offices who develop rsi or eyesight problems are subsidising those forestry workers who don’t have accidents. So what?

              It’s still cheaper and easier to cover everyone the same way via the state, with less duplication, less bureaucracy, less admin cost, and no deadweight loss of profit to the Aussie insurance firms.

              Whether that fits your “private always best” ideology or not isn’t really relevant.

              • Foreign Waka

                Not to forget the solders stationed overseas coming back with injuries. What private insurer will cover that?

            • DH

              “Forestry employers like ACC – Office employers mot so much….”

              Other way around there, ACC premiums for forestry workers are high because of the high accident rate. Office worker rates are one of the lowest.

            • burt

              Foreign Waka

              And so do Rugby players earning heaps, or for that matter any sportsperson…

              Exactly…. Gee imagine if All Blacks earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year had to pay a premium for their injury costs – oh just not fair…. who would want to be an All Black if your earnings were only 30 times the national average rather than 32 because of the extra medical insurance costs.

              • Zetetic

                professional sportspeople pay earner levies like anyone else. And their employers have to pay higher premiums because of risk classification of their profession.

                you have very strong opinions about ACC for someone who clearly knows nothing about it.

                • burt

                  I do have strong opinions on ACC. How sure are you I know nothing about it ?

                  I don’t agree it’s the best system in the world… I seem to share that opinion with every other country in the world…

                  Excluding some very detailed knowledge of how the corporation actually operates…

                  I get that for people who don’t like taking responsibility for themselves that it’s a gold system… I get that it’s a good selling point for socialism because most people actually have no idea what it actually costs them.

                  I also get that because there is no individual contract for what benefits the money we pay actually guarantees, that at any time the compensation is what it is and you have no recourse on that… which is perfect for socialists because it is easy for administration and self serving risk mitigation of the ‘monopoly insurer’.

                  But I’m not so fucking socialist that I would rather protect the best interests of a monopoly over the best interests of the population that is “required” to fund it with no particular service level in return.

                  • Zetetic

                    your comments repeatedly show you have no idea how ACC works.

                    And it’s not about being a ‘socialist’ or not. You’re advocating replacing a system with a more expensive system that would deliver worse coverage. How does that make sense?

                  • Foreign Waka

                    It certainly does not sound like that you have any interest in the well being of the general population. There are so many variants that my fingers would start bleeding to write all of this down – I would need ACC then 😉
                    You have to see the size of the population, number of people contributing and outcome. Measured on that ACC is world class, commercially and socially. I have worked under different schemes and I do know what the differences are. Sure, improvements in policy of cover could be looked at but by and large it is the same people, same infrastructure, same doctors and nurses that would be looking after you whether private or ACC. So in that regard there are only 2 improvements you could expect with a lot more money paid: you may be having a shorter waiting list (not guarantied) and the doctor smiles at you as you just have paid for his/her new luxury car.

                  • Matt

                    How does raising rates for users so middlemen (private insurers) can profit at their expense constitute any sort of improvement? If someone is against redistribution of wealth (or something?) and things that are “socialist”, how does a redistribution of wealth further away from users and into the hands of a) private insurers and b) the government which wants to take more from you benefit anyone?

                    Thanks for looking out for the population, or something. << this is sarcasm

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    How sure are you I know nothing about it ?

                    Your comments pretty much prove that you have NFI WTF you’re talking about.

              • Foreign Waka

                I am glad you said that! I have been confronted before with exactly that dilemma but came to the conclusion that I am gladly covering this if in turn I get treatment and insurance cover if I happen to have an accident. You see, if you spend a night in emergency your selfish thoughts seem to disappear.

                • burt

                  You see, if you spend a night in emergency your selfish thoughts seem to disappear.

                  You seem to have missed the point that I’m a high risk extreme sport person. Having a high pain threshold I’m rather indifferent to injuries. I’m no stranger to emergency and orthopedic departments. Sure being broken is annoying but hey pain is just temporary and so far things seem to go back together OK so I’ve seen no reason to slow down yet.

                  Free patch up’s are great, so is being paid to sit home with shit in casts…. But as much as all you buggers funding my foolishness works for me – I think it’s a completely mad system. There is nothing selfish in saying I should be paying more for my own stupidity. That I should be paying more than the guy who sits next to me at work earning the same who’s biggest risk is a paper cut.

                  I’m getting older though and some mornings the old aches and pains remind me that perhaps some parts have been mashed a few times too many… but you buggers keep funding it. I might go for a ride now actually ! The hills are calling and the hangover needs a good blow out to clear before going out again tonight !

                  Fingers crossed I not lying flat for a few days with shit loads of tax payer funded time to blog some more if I fuck up.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    You seem to have missed the point that I’m a high risk extreme sport person.


                    I know people who do this stuff…and they never ever refer to themselves in that way.

                    • burt

                      Well, I guess you know the type of riding I do… and it’s the same as the people you know. But hey I landed all my jumps today so it’s all good. And mountain biking is one of the things I do…. But I guess you know that because I’m exactly the same as the people you know… I must be because one size fits all and we are all the same.

                  • Foreign Waka

                    I am happy to live in a society where people can think about life like you do – taking risks and enjoy to reach for the outer boundaries. There is a correlation between mind and body – you know, reaching ….If you feel that you should be paying more, feel free to join the Free Ambulance center near you and start contributing regularly. Or make a one off donation, visit their webpage and just do it! It can feel great being a philanthropist.

                    • burt

                      Well I already do contribute to a range of charities and the the Welly free ambulance is one of them. But that’s not fixing the system of taking no account of individual risk profiles is it.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    You seem to have missed the point that I’m a high risk extreme sport person.

                    You seem to have missed the point that we don’t care. The extra costs that you put on the whole are so minuscule that we don’t notice. ACC is getting enough in a fair and balanced way, which happens to be far cheaper than anything you propose, to cover all the accidents that happen including yours. If the costs aren’t covered they put the levies up.

                    Fingers crossed I not lying flat for a few days with shit loads of tax payer funded time to blog some more if I fuck up.

                    Technically, it’s not taxpayer funded – it’s funded through the ACC levies exactly the same way that any private insurance claim is covered through the premiums paid by everybody paying to that corporation. It just so happens to be a whole lot cheaper and better than any private corporation can do.

          • Hami Shearlie

            Remember when National kept repeating that they were there for the small business owners and the self-employed? I wonder how those people are liking the new little entree the Nats have served up to them now?

        • mik e

          burt you should jump in the trash can with oscar your naive propaganda is laughable.
          We have the cheapest ACC Workers compensation whatever you like to call it coverage in the world prove me wrong .

    • Campbell Larsen 4.2

      Good to see that you are finally coming around Burt – you are correct – the disgraceful self serving monopoly that is the National Party and their reprehensible one size fits all neo-liberal nonsense must go.

  5. DH 5

    We get a bit inured to the hypocrisy of politicians but this one does take the cake for unmitigated gall. For years the Nats have been claiming that private is cheaper and that competition will bring ACC premiums down. This is a complete reversal of that claim and they say it without even blinking.

    Of all our state assets ACC is the most valuable to the private sector looter. On paper the work account has little commercial value if it was put up for sale because the balance sheet is neutral; assets equal liabilities. But it also has some $5billion in cold hard cash of which at least $500million can be stripped out with a few strokes of the beancounters pen. The sharks are circling.

  6. Lanthanide 6

    I said it before in another thread: this is the clearest example of double-think to come out of this government yet.

    They are going to force ACC to raise its prices so private insurers can compete, because bringing competition to the market will “create efficiencies” and somehow drive prices down.

    • mikesh 6.1

      Didn’t George Orwell have a term for that sort of thing. Newspeak or newthink or something.

      • Lanthanide 6.1.1

        Doublethink is George Orwell’s term: “describes the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct”

        • Kotahi Tane Huna

          I thought that was wave/particle duality…

          edit: but how stupid of me: wave/particle duality is the reality of knowing that two concepts are simultaneously wrong…

    • Hami Shearlie 6.2

      Nick Smith, Minister for ACC, slippery as a cane toad! Thank goodness for Hill-Billy English, the secret sabotage weapon, threatening to undo the Nats by appearing at a press conference, grinning and chuckling and looking like the village idiot, while admitting his costings for selling state assets were just a wild guess!! Who needs an opposition when Bill does it so well? He’s silently screaming that he’s not in favour of the nats selling state assets policy!! I think we may be seeing why Simon Power ran for the hills! What a mess, how humiliating and embarrassing, and how enjoyable to be watching the nats unravelling!! And the Crafer farms mess for dessert!!!

      • Lanthanide 6.2.1

        It might be amusing if the topic at hand wasn’t so serious for the future of the country.

  7. Dv 7

    Usually political ping pong is played BETEEN parties

    NOT within the same aprty.

  8. Akldnut 8

    This is just a tax by stealth (disguised as a dividend.)

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      This government has shown that they don’t mind giving tax cuts to the rich if they raise taxes on everything else, like GST, or ‘hidden’ taxes that slip under the radar, like taxing employers kiwisaver contributions.

  9. Descendant Of Smith 9

    Given the scheme was legally set up to cover accident costs wouldn’t paying a dividend to the government not only go against the legislation’s intent but would also be illegal?

    Not only would this be against the principle purpose of the legislation it would also be against the purpose of all the individual accounts the legislation requires to be set up.

    I’m quite sure that there is nothing in the Act that currently allows the government to pay itself a dividend – or in fact to take funds from the ACC income streams for other purposes.

    We have separation of powers in this country which means the government cannot just do what they like and I for the life of me cannot see how such a dividend requirement could ever be legal. They would not only have to change legislation but actually change the purpose of the act. Paying a dividend as an “administration cost” would be just taking the piss and one hopes would be challenged in court.

    I have had experience of private insurers last time they were around and it wasn’t pleasant:

    More Christmas Surprises

    • Lanthanide 9.1

      “We have separation of powers in this country which means the government cannot just do what they like”

      Parliament is sovereign, it can do what it likes. But it has to follow it’s own procedures. If there’s an existing act that says a certain thing must not be done, then the government must repeal or amend that act in order to make their new changes.

      If there is any such legislation that prohibits ACC from returning a dividend, I’m sure the government will amend it as appropriate to allow their new policy to be put in place.

      • Carol 9.1.1

        Parliament is not totally sovereign. It is held in check by law courts as is seen by the rejection of the Crafar decision. It can change the laws, but when they don’t have a great majority, and public opinion against them, changing such laws can be folly.

        • Descendant Of Smith

          I specifically said government which is separate also from parliament which is separate from the courts.

          The government can only introduce legislation to parliament. You may feel that’s a moot point given the abuse by this government via urgency but I don’t – particularly with such a slim majority.

          While the required legislative change can get through parliament it is difficult to see how a dividend payment can be worded in any way to meet the purpose of the legislation. There would have to be some convoluted twisting done to try and justify this. Something I think the courts would take a dim view of.

          Neither government nor parliament have unfettered power.

        • Lanthanide

          Sure, but ultimately they can still do it.

  10. ghostwhowalksnz 10

    Reading burts lament that he is paying the same rate ( non work, non vehicle) for his high risk sports as the Karori sewing circle.

    This may not be in the fine print loved by insurance companies but it works the same way. Once he is old enough to join the Karori sewing circle he may find his previous ‘high risk’ life will catch up with him.

    I can just read the medical report for claims for injury in his later years . Declined they will say , evidence of life long degeneration from previous activities.

    Hope you have saved up

  11. RedBaron 11

    The Insurance Companies will definitely be keen for the action but just how keen will corporates etc be to insure privately, not with ACC? Dealings with private insurers never seem to be easy.

    Is it time to remind them all of the AFFCO problem. If I remember correctly, there was a shoot out
    in the carpark of one of their freezing works and a person was injured. AFFCO’s private insurers said “not me” and ACC said the same thing. It seemed to dribble on for ages and then finally went quiet – did they settle privately?
    However, the amount of management time and legal fees etc that went into this dispute must have been substantial, probably far exceeding any payout and was presumably a major distraction from running the real business of the company.

    In Australia, broad statistics for dust disease compensation showed that roughly half of all payouts went to the claimant’s lawyers [and the other half to the claimant]. Companies and State governments had to meet their own legal costs on top of the payout. The deadweight of transaction costs in the system are very high.

    Under the old worker’s compensation schemes the Insurance Companies didn’t bother with rehab of any sort. They just delayed and delayed, leaving people with pain and disability and when they finally died they would calculate the difference between the age at death and the age they would have received the old age pension, and then pay out this pittance to the surviving family.

    So, if we don’t want private insurers, then we should all vote with our money. As Shane Gallagher says above there are plenty of benefits for employers from ACC and we should spread this word far and wide.

  12. vto 12

    If ever there was proof that privatising such things as ACC is more expensive then this is it.





    Just like having foreign landlords, the nats and others simply seem to have their heads screwed on backwards.

  13. Vicky32 13

    Why don’t we do that ? Surely it would be a lot easier and cheaper to just say a per liter charges are more efficient because them nasty hubodometer manufactures are just scooping profit from all the truckies and that’s just inefficient?
    Another approach would be to tax tires, hell if you blast through a set of tires on the twin turbo in 15,000k’s then surely you are doing more damage to the roads than a V8 driven carefully getting 40,000k’s out of a set of tires….

    Burt, sweetie darling, use a spell check please! ‘Tires, liters’, I didn’t know you are an American!
    (In case of a tanty, I’ll point out that with ‘sweetie darling’ I am channeling Pats from AbFab) 😀

    • burt 13.1

      No drama Vicky32, grammar police are fine with me….

      Any comment on what I actually said re: the analogy of RUC and Petrol tax compared to ACC ?

      • Vicky32 13.1.1

        Any comment on what I actually said re: the analogy of RUC and Petrol tax compared to ACC ?

        Only that when I could get past your crazy spelling, I found that what you’re talking about is nothing like analogous to ACC. You seem to have completely missed the point – again!

  14. feijoa 14

    How much money did the Insurance Council donate to the National Party over the last few years?

    Also I believe there are alot of employers who are lukewarm on privatising ACC. There may have been cheaper premiums in 1999, but if they had any injured workers in that time, they probably found having treatment or compensation or even having the claim accepted was not a smooth process

    • Foreign Waka 14.1

      And if an injury does not get treated and becomes chronic because of bureaucratic failure you can sue the hell out of any company not having measures in place that gets you back on your feet in the quickest of times. Now imagine that.

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