Smith to announce ACC privatisation

Written By: - Date published: 6:30 am, May 30th, 2011 - 84 comments
Categories: ACC, privatisation - Tags: ,

On Wednesday this week, Nick Smith is going to announce what amounts to the effective privatisation of a large part of ACC. You won’t hear the word privatisation uttered from his lips, he’ll use all sorts of other words like ‘competition’ and ‘market discipline’, but the effect will be the same. Accident cover for those injured at work will now be provided by the private, for-profit insurance industry. That’s privatisation.

What concerns me about this most is that the National government haven’t even attempted to produce a robust case to show that it’s a good idea. This is a purely ideological decision, based on National’s blinkered belief that the market will always deliver the most efficient outcome. But consider these facts:

  • An independent review by Pricewaterhouse (Australia) found that our ACC scheme has the lowest administration costs of any comparable scheme anywhere in the world.
  • Information provided to the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee showed that the cost per-worker of work-related accident cover in New Zealand is, on average, about half what it costs in Australia (is this what National meant by catching the Aussies?).
  • Under the current system, if someone is injured at work and has to stay home, the first week of income compensation has to be provided by the employer. Following the Christchurch earthquake, the government waived that requirement and ACC covered the lot. They couldn’t have done that if work-related injury cover had been provided by private insurers.
  • If a private insurer offering ACC cover collapses, it’s the taxpayer who will have to pick up the tab for any outstanding claims liabilities. So the private insurance companies have an effective fail-safe guarantee. We’ve already seen one ‘accredited employer’ collapse resulting in ACC having to pick up the bill, that will only get worse under Nick Smith’s privatisation plan.
  • When HIH, a private Australian accident insurance company collapsed in the early 2000s, the Aussie govt had to pick up a $500 million tab. HIH had been offering accident cover under National’s previous attempt to privatise ACC, which was reversed by the incoming Labour government following the 1999 general election.

There are only two ways that private insurance companies will be able to turn a profit from offering work-related accident cover in New Zealand. Either they will have to reduce entitlements, or they will have to increase the cost of that cover. In other words, we’ll all end up paying more to get less.

Since National became the government, Nick Smith has gone to some lengths to manufacture a crisis in ACC in order to justify his privatisation plans. As I outline a last week, ACC is in pretty good shape and Smith’s scaremongering is pretty transparent. His moves to massively hike up levies in 2009 were designed to erode public support. If ever we needed proof of how cynical a move that was, we got it a few weeks ago when he started talking about levy cuts just six months out from a general election.

ACC isn’t perfect, but the comprehensive, no-fault, 24/7, universal cover it currently offers is the right approach for us to take. We should be focused on how we can improve what we have now, not how we can create more profit-making opportunities for National’s mates in the private insurance industry.

84 comments on “Smith to announce ACC privatisation”

  1. Zetetic 1

    more unmandated privatisation.

    • ZeeBop 1.1

      Welcome to the rage. The great book burning. The we-are-right, so lets burn everything down. Its didn’t help Germany, it won’t help NZ. The ideology is broken but the powerful won’t give up. The new right agenda was all about power and strength, about no turning back, and now they are in their blind one way alley bashing up against a wall of limits, fiscal, resource, energy, common sense. Personally I think we should just arrest the MSM editors and lock them away so they can get perspective back and stop feeding crap into the social arena. If all rules need to be broken, the new right policy edict, then why not their greatest adherents being locked away for five years to give us a break from the tsunami of media crap. Crap meaning all the misdirection, distortion and dispersion of pressing crisis-es. Peak oil changes everything, yet we have no debate about where that change will lead, in fact we have a National Socialism that says even though we have technology, intercommunication, smarts coming out of our arses, we still need to have child poverty so that farmers can sell milk. Sorry, but they have to be part Nazi to support the endless crap. I do not want to be a working class hero if it means that I’m an interchangeable immediately redundant cog in the profit machine that is NZ, and all NZ is is just a profit machine.

  2. We are at peak everything (except suffering) so it is inevitable that that we will pass peak pampering, which means the govt (no matter who is in power) will have to cut back on all the services that we have become accustomed to.
    New Zealand will start looking like a 3rd world country on its way to imitating the Easter Island collapse, so this is just a prequel to our demise.
    Non of our politicians have the guts or the backbone to tell the truth, so it will be surprise surprise each time we step down another rung on the ladder to health, wealth, and prosperity.
    Renters, mortgagees, and rate payers should stock up on camping gear, as tent cities and living off the land is our future.
    Make sure you have several guns stashed away (a semi auto 22 will be good enough) and plenty of ammo, you are going to become your own police men.
    Perry says it so well in this essay http://oilcrash.com/articles/coping.htm

    And lets start the week off with a poem

    I can still remember the time before the crash
    when we all drove around in cars and I had lots of cash
    and anything I wanted, I’d just go out and buy
    I’d even drive a mile or two – just to buy a pie

    but then the oil wars started and everything collapsed
    the supermarket shelves were stripped before a month elapsed
    and people all turned really grim and gained a hungry look
    we’d steal from anyone at all we’d kill for things to cook

    and everywhere disease and grief and bodies left to rot
    while gangs of grim and brutal men would kill and steal and plot
    and people fled the cities and countless numbers died
    and everything was so so bad not even mothers cried

    our house was one of many then, a normal family home
    but it was stripped and burnt for fuel when we had left to roam
    and I remember mum and dad, my little sister too
    but they were killed and eaten back sometime in ‘22

    and now I know I’m dying, I’ve left no living heirs
    nobody is alive to know there’s not a soul who cares
    there’s only me so damned hungry I’m gnawing at the trees
    there’s no-one left to kill and eat oh God please help me please

    and as I stagger on and on through burnt and plundered homes
    I see the the signs of rage and ruin and countless human bones
    I hear the starving pack of dogs that follow close behind
    and I am now so close to death I hardly even mind

    I fall and screaming dogs begin to rip and shred my life
    my mind drifts back to days of oil and to my kids and wife
    oh life was so so simple then and life was so so good
    but all we had we wasted, we never understood

    http://oilcrash.com/articles/poems.htm

    The only thing I disagree with in the above poem, is we would have eaten the dogs long before they started eating us. It will not be the dogs we will be concerned about it will be the roving gangs of youth.
    And as always least you forget ‘ we told you so’

    • johnm 2.1

      Hi R.A.
      The World is heading to be a poorer place. And NZ too but I don’t believe we have to sacrifice our health standards. Look at Cuba which provides superior health coverage and support than what the ordinary American gets who can’t afford health insurance(Or even those who can and are denied on a technicality). Michael Moore’s docko “Sicko” compares the sick system of America with the socialised care given to Cubans.Give me the latter anyday. This so called government are following the criminal sick selfish system of the U$. It stinks! As does the apathy of the NZ masses happy with their pathetic tax cuts-sweeties thrown at them by MR Nice.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      From the Coping article:

      …accept the fact that the human love affair with technology, complexity, high energy consumptive Industrial Civilization, and breeding far beyond Carrying Capacity is ending.

      Ok, there’s a few things wrong with that sentence. I’ll take them apart in order:
      1.) Technology: the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science. Yep, we’re going to keep that bit because, even after the oil is gone, we’ll still be tool users as we have been for thousands of years.
      2.) We’ll probably see a reduction in complexity but no human society has ever existed without some.
      3.) Yep, we’ll probably be seeing a decrease in energy consumption but, again, as we’ll get to keep a hell of a lot of electricity generation (Wind, Hydro, Solar) it won’t be going the way of the Dodo just yet.
      4.) Thankfully we’ll be seeing an end to the over consume, throw away society that we’ve become over the last 30 years or so. Limited resources will begin to mean something again.
      5.) No, the Industrial Civilization is not going away. We have the power and resources to maintain it. It will be minimised to produce what’s needed as needed rather than maximised to boost consumption but it will still be here.
      6.) And, yes, we’ll have to learn to control our population. That should give the anti-choicers ulcers.

      Or, realize that since by 2030 or so, most in the U.S. will be living lifestyles similar to those lived in 1930 OR BEFORE…

      Only if we’re stupid enough to try and maintain the capitalists and capitalism.

      • terryg 2.2.1

        DTB, nicely done. it can be shown that non-oil energy resources are not the problem – economics/politics are. eventually we the sheeple will wake up…….

  3. Brett 3

    Be a lot of happy small business owners and self employed people

    • Zetetic 3.1

      small business doesn’t like privatised ACC. there was a survey. too costly and time consuming trying to pick providers

      • TightyRighty 3.1.1

        Really, where is this survey?

      • Brett 3.1.2

        I would be interested in seeing this survey, having been self employed and spending most of my day working with other small business owners, lets just say their opinion regarding ACC varies significantly from yours.

      • Andrew Scobie 3.1.3

        really? as a self employed IT contractor, it cost me $1,000 last year in ACC levies, just me! where the wost workplace accident i could have would be falling off my chair.

        I would happily spend a few hours looking for private insurance, or not have any at all, to save some of that money.

        • lprent 3.1.3.1

          Really? Then evidentially you are an IT idiot.

          OOS is the most common injury for IT contractors and anyone who has spent much time in front of keyboard for extended hours has to be aware of it. That is closely followed by various forms of neck strain from crappy chairs, and headaches from bad light levels. You will find all of these in the ACC costs and they are quite considerable.

          Each of these can be debilitating and are quite likely to cause a career stop. I’ve had each of them over the last 20 years and I’m paranoid enough to cart around my own chair, keyboard and mouse because of it. I use caps to get rid of glare if it is a problem.

          Most long term IT pro’s I know take similar measures, but often less. It is only the young idiots who think that they cannot get injured who have your ignorant attitude. Oh and by the way, you will find it really really hard to find insurance that covers these. If everything stuffs up then these can cost the insurance companies way too much – and they have really expensive rates that do not cover anything like as much as ACC. That is what you pay your $1k for, and it is cheap compared to the alternatives.

          • Brett 3.1.3.1.1

            Why do IT people pay so little?.

            • lprent 3.1.3.1.1.1

              Because ACC also spend considerable amounts of time spreading information about how much these injuries can cost companies. Andrew’s cover is also effectively being partially paid for by the companies that he works for. After all it is where he is working that usually causes the problem.

              I gather from friends working offshore that they don’t get the attention that I can get when I complain about something that is causing me a problem – either as an employee or a contractor.

              That proactive approach that ACC fosters towards reducing injuries also means that their overall costs are lower than somewhere like the states. Basically the same principle as pharmac

              • Lanthanide

                My work has a big emphasis on health and safety. It is treated as a little bit of a joke or annoyance, but if you raise something as a health and safety issue, it will definitely be dealt with, and quickly. We have some sort of high-ranking status with ACC that reduces the premiums we have to pay, and as part of that the company has to jump through a lot of hoops to show it takes health and safety seriously – seems to work out well overall.

                • McFlock

                  In my last workplace the only orders filled immediately were the ones relating to workplace safety. Everything else could wait, or could be postponed to next month’s budget, but safety gear came overnight (if that long) as each hazard was identified.

            • sean maitland 3.1.3.1.1.2

              I’m a software developer contractor and paid $2600 in ACC levies last year, which is about the max amount for IT – the answer to your question is that he probably doesn’t earn much or is paying for the wrong industry code.

              • Andrew Scobie

                only worked 2 part tax years after i came back from the UK. Have now taken a permy job so don’t need to worry about it again for a while. No doubt i would be paying the max amount you talk about for a full tax year, tho hopefully when i take up my next contract i will actually have a choice about who i pay accident and workplace insurance to.

          • Andrew Scobie 3.1.3.1.2

            “Really? Then evidentially you are an IT idiot”

            You can be a real prick sometimes Lprent, your first response is always to slag someone off who’s opinion you don’t like.

            And for your information i am close to 40, have been in IT for coming up 20 years, i cart around my own keyboard, refuse to work on a crappy chair, and take regular breaks. I have never had OOS as i manage my time in front of a keyboard effectively, unlike you by the sounds of it. Who is the idiot now?

            I very well may get OOS in the future, in fact i expect to have problems eventually, but what the hell has that got to do with me wanting to choose who i get to insure me?

            • wtl 3.1.3.1.2.1

              I very well may get OOS in the future, in fact i expect to have problems eventually, but what the hell has that got to do with me wanting to choose who i get to insure me?

              Surely this directly contradicts your earlier statement below:

              where the wost workplace accident i could have would be falling off my chair.

              Weren’t you arguing that you were paying too much because there aren’t any risks associated with your work? How does your argument work now, considering you have yourself acknowledged that OOS could well be a problem in the future?

              • Andrew Scobie

                Accident Compensation …. OOS is not an accident. It is a long term injury sustained by repetitive movements such as …

                I can look after myself, i don’t need the state to look after me. That why i object to paying for something that i can manage on my own.

                • Lanthanide

                  If we can guarantee that when you got injured, you wouldn’t turn around and try and leech off the state in anyway whatsoever (eg, no unemployment or sickness benefits if you can’t work due to injury, no public hospital usage when you get injured), then sure, I’m fine with you not paying your ACC.

                  ACC is simply a part of the social-welfare system that the government provides. If you’re going to try and opt out of part of the system because you find it so burdensome, then really it seems like you need to opt out of all of the systems put in place, otherwise you’re not paying your fair share.

                  • Brett

                    What do you deem a fair share?, ACC added an extra 10% on top of my tax rate.
                    Never claimed once and it kept going up and up.
                    This is for a landscape contractor.

                    • Lanthanide

                      The fair share is whatever ACC decides. It’s already the cheapest and most comprehensive public insurance scheme in the world, so I don’t know what more you could possibly want. If it were some massive inefficient boondoggle, then I might be more sympathetic to your complaint.

                    • terryg

                      and of course landscape contractors never get injured, as there is absolutely nothing in their jobs which could possibly cause harm in any way – other than a paper cut from those damned ACC forms.

                      insurance will never be cheaper than ACC – insurance companies are not there to provide a service, they are there to make a profit. Ergo “customers” must not only cough up for the total cost of treatment and overheads (and its not unreasonable to assume that any given injury requires a particular treatment (course) at a particular cost, irrespective of insurance provider), but must also stump up profits.

                      thats not to say ACC cant do a better job – but narrowly defining “better” as “making more money for the provider” cannot and (history proves) will not lead to improved outcomes for customers.

                      this is typical RW thinking – ooh, [insert government function here] isnt performing as efficiently as possible, therefore lets throw it away it and do something entirely new

                      Any competent engineer (software or otherwise) will know how bad this approach is – unless there are fundamental systemic flaws, apply corrective feedback (PDCA) and fix the bugs. this will move the system reliability along the bathtub curve from infant mortality to(wards) random failure (most reliable)

                      starting again simply resets the reliability bathtub curve right back to infant mortality. whereupon one starts discovering all the problems with the new, “improved” system.

                      the new, “improved” Auckland Council debacles demonstrate this perfectly.

                      wrt ACC, my main gripe is twofold:

                      firstly, ACC funding should come out of general taxation – we already have a bureaucracy set up to take peoples money – IRD – so why not use it.

                      secondly, paying for peoples fucking sports injuries. I dont play rugby….

                      Alas the second one is simply “I’m OK, fuck everybody else” with different wording. which is ultimately what most RW policy boils down to. doh.

                    • Brett

                      The reason I had to pay so much because some office worker does a bit of work in the garden on the weekend, gets a callous and has to take a week off on ACC.
                      Some clown at ACC ticks the landscape box and my premiums go up

                      I thought Labour was supposed to be about the trades, blue collar etc, these ACC premiums cripple the small business these tradies work for.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Brett, you’re being ridiculous and you know it.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Lanth, its quite possible that Brett doesn’t know it.

                      Our system is world leading, seems like why the Righties would like to destroy it and replace it with say, something more like the broken, litigious and costly US system.

                    • Brett

                      [Not needed…RL]

            • Zorr 3.1.3.1.2.2

              I am 28 and have a degree of OOS. I no longer work in call centres and doubt I will return due to my issues. Currently my hands are gradually recovering but it makes me feel like an old man when the weather shifts and my hands start itching and aching. This all despite the fact that I worked in workplaces that took OOS -very- seriously and provided all kinds of measures, including workplace consultants, to help prevent the development of it.

              Your argument, to me, sounds like those “I smoked a pack a day all my life, have worked outside every day and I have yet to develop any cancer”. If this is you, congrats. You are one of very few who manage to dodge the odds over a long enough time period. It is one of the facts of the human condition – it is very difficult to see past our own anecdotal evidence to view the statistical probabilities that tell the real story of what happens to large populations.

            • sean maitland 3.1.3.1.2.3

              If you earn 110k or over in IT then you should pay $2629 incl GST for ACC levies – how did you get to the figure of $1000?

            • lprent 3.1.3.1.2.4

              You can be a real prick sometimes Lprent, your first response is always to slag someone off who’s opinion you don’t like.

              I usually only get around to writing when I get well motivated (I have rather too many things to do). Occasionally it is when someone says something that makes me think. But mostly that is when someone annoys me with making daft statements without thinking (IMO). And besides I really am not a particularly nice person (and nor do I aspire to be one).

              Getting coverage for OOS is not as easy as you seem to think. Obviously you haven’t looked at the issue closely enough.

              You’ll find it hard to get coverage from private insurers. Even where you are supposedly covered you will usually find that they will attempt to wangle out of it. Where I have had private insurance contracts here for income, medical, and the like, it is pretty easy to find the clauses that effectively exclude OOS as something that they will cover. It is such an open ended issue that private insurers will usually try to exclude it as a coverage item.

              The ACC does cover it because they are responsible not only for the coverage, but also for fixing the working conditions that cause it.

              I have never had OOS as i manage my time in front of a keyboard effectively, unlike you by the sounds of it. Who is the idiot now?

              The reason that I was getting OOS at the time was simply the numbers of hours I was in front of a screen. At the time I was working on projects with tight deadlines and long hours. Then spending my spare time working on coding for volunteer projects. The nett result was that I was often on a computer for close to 16 hours per day seven days per week.

              OOS is a cumulative damage injury and the more time you spend in conditions that can cause it the higher the probability is that you will get it. Every little flaw in the workspaces flows straight through if there isn’t enough downtime for the body to do repairs.

              I suspect that you simply haven’t worked hard enough…

               

              • Andrew Scobie

                But that’s the thing, i don’t want or need coverage for OOS, I have no problems about Accident Cover, but not general medical issues. OOS is not an accident. As you well know, its is a long term cumulative condition, that doesn’t even affect everyone in IT.

                ACC to me is a system that should be no fault cover for ACCIDENTS, not general health issues that may or may not be related to work.

                “I suspect that you simply haven’t worked hard enough”

                Ha, I’ve done my fair share of all nighters, and late nights, but I’m certainly not going to claim that i have worked anywhere near as hard as you have. I also have projects that i work on from home, so hey, our work loads may in fact be closer than you think.

                • Lanthanide

                  Like I said above, Andrew, I don’t mind if you stop paying for ACC to cover OOS, if, should you become unemployed from OOS that ACC coverage could have mitigated or prevented, you subsequently do not partake in any other government assistance such as unemployment or sickness benefits, and didn’t place any extra stress on the public health system.
                   
                  If you’re going to partake in the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, then I think you also need to pay for the fence posts at the top, whether you think you personally benefit from them or not.

                  • Jim Nald

                    Labour & the Left: We’re in this together

                    NACT: You’re in this together

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Andrew, you’ve just proven that you have NFI how insurance works. So, being the kind* Bastard that I am I shall endeavour to enlighten you. It works like this:

                  1.) Determine probabilities and costs of something going wrong
                  2.) Get everyone to pay a sum to cover that something
                  3.) Pay out to the minority of people that it actually goes wrong for.

                  Under the model that you espouse what the “insurance” company would do would determine how long it would be before that something happened to you and charge enough to ensure that when it did happen they’d have enough in the bank to cover it plus the profit that they want over that time. Basically, if everyone only paid for the something that happens to them then what they end up doing is paying the full costs and, as such, had no need of the insurance anyway.

                  The reason why our ACC is the cheapest in the world is because it has everyone in it resulting in mass cross subsidisation (The people who are injured are subsidised by those who aren’t) which makes it cheaper for everyone. If we didn’t have that cross subsidisation everyone would have to save enough so as to be able to afford the full cost of any accidents. Add competition to the “market” and the costs will go up which, IIRC, some people have estimated as between $200m and $400m per year.

                  *or was that arrogant?

                  • I think that spells it out. The bosses don’t want to subsidise workers’ accidents on the job, nor pay for accidents outside the workplace. In their world view, which of course carefully refrains from saying that workers pay for everything in the last analysis, they want to force workers to pay for the full costs of their reproduction out of their wage – declassified as the notion of user pays – at the same time holding down that wage as much as they can on the grounds that unless you take the lowest possible wage you do yourself out of a job.
                    Unless you want to spend the rest of your life debating statistics and morality in places like this, best to reject the whole boss class rationale for capitalism, the bosses are only elevated because they stand on our shoulders and spout crap (what Marx called the Holy Trinity – I would say the devil’s work), and start an unholy revolution.

                  • RedLogix

                    Unfortunately your logic DtB will fall on deaf ears. Andrew’s moral conception of society has been crippled because he’s a child of Thatcher’s ‘there is no such thing as society’ canard.

                    Basically he’s stuck in the ‘I’m alright, fuck you’ mode of the pre-schooler, and for this reason grown-up arguments will mean nothing to him.

              • sean maitland

                I’ve been doing similar hours in the industry for 12 years now (private sector projects of course) – sometimes having to do stints of 40 hours straight to get ready for demonstrations or to meet deadlines, and in other cases working 16×7 for 2 months straight thanks to managers making fixed price agreements on cut-price estimates just so they get the work (to get the foot in the door etc).

                The ONLY reason for getting OOS/RSI is poor posture, and/or leaning your wrists/arms/elbows on the keyboard/desk while typing and using the mouse. I have never had an OOS/RSI injury, yet have worked with many who have, and its always due to flawed typing/mousing technique. Even part time staff have had such injuries, and you could never accuse them of working too many hours.

                Perhaps Andrew has great technique – its a pretty big assumption to make that he doesn’t work hard enough.

                • terryg

                  Hmm, the ONLY reason?

                  I am being slightly pedantic, but isnt it just a teensy bit unrealistic to assume that there are not, nor could there ever be, any form of genetic or environmental factor that might predispose one to OOS? like, say, congenital joint deformities, osteochondritis dissecans etc?

                • lprent

                  Bearing in mind that he said that he was doing everything correctly as I was as well…. There is an obvious conclusion 😈

                  tg: Fortunately I have never suffered any of those. Family history shows some angina and a tendency towards arthritis in old age. I’ve added a whole new disease to the family history by getting a heart arterial occlusion. But I don’t think any of those predispose.

                  • terryg

                    Lyn, I have the latter, and it hasnt AFAIK predisposed me to OOS. a badly setup workstation will get me (R wrist) in 3-4 hours though :}

                    mostly I was being pedantic in much the same way as when I harangue people for saying “instantly” (if not reaction time, then Planck time definitely rules that out).

                    • lprent

                      Yeah, as I said earlier I tend to take my environment with me. Keyboard. Mouse. Chair. Attitude. If the lights are too bad then I will go home to work. My job is to design and write code. It is not there to explain to employers how a workspace needs to be laid out. These days it usually isn’t an issue.

                      Life is too short to code in crap environments.

                    • terryg

                      Hi Lynn,
                      indeed you’re right, nicely put. Sorry for misspelling your name BTW. funny thing is – my ma & 2pa are Lynne and Lynn. when they got married, my partner was kim, and my sister kims partner was terry 🙂

          • Lanthanide 3.1.3.1.3

            Short term gain for long term pain in choosing a private provider, in other words.

        • Blighty 3.1.3.2

          you might be interested in this from the MSD website:

          “In sum, privatisation would result in a system characterised by higher costs and/or lower benefits, where workers are vulnerable to choices made by their employers, and employers are vulnerable to choices made by insurance companies. Cross-subsidies would not be eliminated; there is little evidence that safety would be improved; and the resulting system could be a lot less fair to certain segments of society such as non-earners, general taxpayers, small businesses and victims of occupational diseases. Whatever the alleged benefits of privatisation in other sectors of the New Zealand economy, in accident compensation the consequences would be overwhelmingly negative.”

          http://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CCkQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.msd.govt.nz%2Fdocuments%2Fabout-msd-and-our-work%2Fpublications-resources%2Fjournals-and-magazines%2Fsocial-policy-journal%2Fspj11%2Fspj11-competition-and-compensation.doc&ei=rrviTfCIBsfPiAK90I2dBg&usg=AFQjCNE0nh3-4gbClhvEr03OGHlLc8a5Kg

          • prism 3.1.3.2.1

            Wow blighty that’s definite unequivocal stuff against privatisation. Good on you for posting it.

          • dave brown 3.1.3.2.2

            But this is the point. Negative to the workers not the bosses who would get cheaper insurance.
            The whole point of privatising is to open up lucrative business to bosses and make the workers pay for it. Its ideological sure, but its driven at every level by profits. Ideas dont exist without material roots. These are profits and we the workers are rooted.
            The larger social cost is a nonsense for capital which uses up the flesh and blood of workers, exhausts nature, and drives humanity towards extinction, to make a profit. Social democratic appeals to some redeeming feature of capitalism is merely avoiding the calamity and weakening our ability to stop it in time.
            Think of the the 13 year old Syrian boy Hamza who was tortured, castrated and killed by the Assad dictatorship and multiply by a million.
            Enough, Tumeke, outrage, indignity – whatever word you chose it has to ignite workers to rise up against the system that is destroying us all in the name of profit.

            • Blighty 3.1.3.2.2.1

              the truth is, small business doesn’t get cheaper insurance, they’re paying part of the insurers’ profits too. It’s the big companies that win because they have bargaining power.

        • Campbell Larsen 3.1.3.3

          There won’t be any saving Andrew, the profit has to come from somewhere, either from reduced cover or higher levies.

        • KJT 3.1.3.4

          Would you really like to pay what a private company charges for the same level of cover as ACC.

          I remember trying to get payments from a private provider after a small accident when private providers were last tried..

          American firms would love to have our low cost personal injury insurance.

          ACC is much simpler. The only problem is NACT are gutting ACC to make it easier to get support for privatisation.

  4. prism 4

    Another step in the reshaping of NZ government away from the people getting collective services to becoming individuals scrambling to manage the difficulties of life. We will have to depend on the whimsical concern and compassion of the wealthy which will be consistent only in its coldness and minginess. If not resisted they will hollow out government and collapse the valuable services we built in the past to continue into the future.

    We forget, and don’t explain to our children, about how bad our situation was in past years once we have recovered from crises. Then we grow complaisant and concentrate on our own upward rise. We have this trend in the western world, our governments demolishing what was built to overcome and assure no repetition of previous trauma..

    But these large government enterprises are large plums and so private ‘enterprise’ want to get their tentacles on our things as they think that they cam use them better, be more efficient. What they mean is that they can reduce costs, take a profit for themselves and then charge us the same or more for a lesser service.

  5. randal 5

    these nats are just graspers, placeholders and desperate for maney that they haven’t earned for themselves.
    well it spells their doom because the people of new zealand are not fgoing to put up with having their social cohesion or whats left of it stripped away by a gang of three term idiots.

    • infused 5.1

      Oh bullshit. That’s why they are still leading in the polls. It’s because they’ve had enough of this crap. When Labour wakes up to this fact, they might start polling better.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        You are right infused, THAT must be it! New Zealanders must be lovin’ the fact that 50% of them live on less than $29,000 p.a. even as costs ratchet higher and higher and higher.

        Wow, I never even thought of the possibility that all these New Zealanders would prefer their lives on Struggle St exactly that way.

        Thanks for the enlightenment buddy.

  6. side show bob 6

    ACC being privatised ?, Mother of God, no!!!!!!!!!!!!, the sky is falling. Just twenty years to late, for to long this thieving, parasitic government department has stolen from the people. Please shut it down now.

    • KJT 6.1

      ACC is known worldwide as the most bang for your buck employment accident insurance scheme in the world.
      Why hand it to private firms to make it more expensive, less effective and less fair.

      • marsman 6.1.1

        Hand ACC to Key’s chums so they can make huge profits from a monopoly market.

  7. queenstfarmer 7

    he’ll use all sorts of other words like ‘competition’ and ‘market discipline’

    Heaven forbid that insurance be subjected to competition and market discipline!

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      In insurance “competition” means higher premiums and “market discipline” means higher profits due to not paying out when possible.

      In other words, it costs more and you get less.

      • queenstfarmer 7.1.1

        False & false.

        The insurance sector is actually highly price sensitive, in large part due to it being easily interchangable – i.e. who cares which “brand” of insurance you have?

        Insurance companies are also very wary of declining legitimate claims, which loses them customers and is terrible for business. As a result there have been very few cases in which an insurer has been held to have wrongly denied a claim (and in the rare instances they do, they get hammered). If you want examples of dodgy refusals, just look at ACC in recent years (under last & present Govt). But hey, ACC has no competition so it can get away with that kind of thing.

        I have been involved in the industry and seen this first-hand. Of course, this assumes a properly functioning market…

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          That is all bullshit

          In the US the insurance company business model is simple: deny claims, and deny coverage. If you are old sick or have a history of prior illness or injury you are fucked.

          Private sector competition wastes money at an unbelievable rate trying to divert monies to their own salaries, profit margins and shareholders earnings, and only a right wing moron like you would hope the US private insurance based health system up as some kind of intelligent model to follow.

          The only one who does well out of the US model are the insurance companies.

          Loser.

          I have been involved in the industry and seen this first-hand. Of course, this assumes a properly functioning market…

          God you’re stupid, large corporates have no interest in allowing anything like a “properly functioning market” to exist, and they are willing to spend big money corrupting the system and corrupting the regulators and legislators to that exact end.

          • queenstfarmer 7.1.1.1.1

            In the US the insurance company business model is simple: deny claims, and deny coverage. If you are old sick or have a history of prior illness or injury you are fucked.

            You are obviously confused. Refusing coverage for pre-existing conditions is a very separate, and very controversial, issue. No-one is talking about removing the no-fault, universal scheme (except you, apparently).

            only a right wing moron like you would hope the US private insurance based health system up as some kind of intelligent model to follow.

            You apparently also have a reading comprehension disability. When did I say anything about the US model? Most would agree the funding, coverage and administration side of the US situation is a shambles.

            • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.1.1

              You are so moronically enamoured with allowing private insurance companies to fund health services, the US is living proof that it is more expensive, and that the way that money is made for insurance company shareholders is to deny coverage, deny claims and deny service.

              That is why you will see the private insurers lining up for the most profitable parts of ACC business and not wanting a bar of any of the hard stuff.

              Healthcare money is wasted as it is shunted off to high executive salaries and private shareholders pockets, not into providing services for those who need it.

              You right wing sell out.

              • queenstfarmer

                You’re still confused. Everyone agrees the US system is broken. The Dems and Republicans both want it changed. Again I ask, who ever suggested replicating the US system in NZ, or anywhere else for that matter?

                • Colonial Viper

                  You’re still confused. Everyone agrees the US system is broken.

                  And yet you maintain your fiction that private profit seeking insurance companies must be allowed to play an ever increasing role in the NZ healthcare system.

                  Fuck off.

            • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1.1.2

              Most would agree the funding, coverage and administration side of the US situation is a shambles.

              So why would we want to duplicate it?

              Private insurance must be more expensive because 1.) Not everybody is in it cutting down on the cross subsidisation which will put premiums up 2.) Insurance companies have to advertise adding an entire expense that ACC doesn’t have and 3.) They also need to make a profit for the shareholders which is another expense that ACC doesn’t have.

              The private model sux.

              • queenstfarmer

                So why would we want to duplicate it?

                Exactly. Thankfully, no-one is suggesting that.

                Private insurance must be more expensive because …

                It’s not often you hear the assertion that a state-operated monopoly provides a less expensive outcome than the market!

                • Colonial Viper

                  It’s not often you hear the assertion that a state-operated monopoly provides a less expensive outcome than the market!

                  You’re a fucking moron, you hear it all the time because it is TRUE

                  The reason it is TRUE is because every dollar can go into intended services instead of being siphoned off to

                  a) dividend hungry shareholders and
                  b) unjustifiable levels of executive pay.

                  In conclusion, THE MARKET is a tool to be used when it suits the public interest, and when it does not, it is to be discarded.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Thankfully, no-one is suggesting that.

                  That’s exactly what they’re doing.

                  It’s not often you hear the assertion that a state-operated monopoly provides a less expensive outcome than the market!

                  You may not hear it often but that’s probably because you’re only listening to idiots like neo-liberal economists and anyone in the National or Act parties.

                • lprent

                  State operated monopolies are frequently better than a hodgepodge that market has as outcomes.

                  There are others even in NZ – for instance Pharmac (have you read Gareth Morgan on that). Public health systems (compared to the abortion that is the US health system – The Economist has had several surveys on that over the decades). EQC (imagine private insurers trying to have a capital fund covering virtually every building in NZ) and so forth.

                  But generally what you’re looking at are things that affect the the whole of the population and require coverage. They usually carry benefits outside direct costs, have bulk purchasing advantages, and the costs of having people not covered are high.

                  If you’d engage your brain rather than your ignorance, I’m sure you can think of more.

                  Market solutions are really good when you’re looking at discretionary options. They are remarkably useless when you are looking at mandatory items because they always drop into monopolistic or market ‘arrangements’ that are designed to raise the cost to consumers to everything that the customers can bear and frequently beyond.

  8. Nick 8

    I haven’t seen a single sensible argument for the benefits of privatising ACC. Its only the work account that is being privatised. This is the part that actually brings in enough money for ACC. So we’ll get two rises, insurance companies will want to take a profit on top of providing a service we already have, which is why the PWC report shows that we have the best value workplace cover and concludes that no significant changes are needed. AND ACC costs that we have to pay outside of work (rego etc.,) will go up to cover the lost revenue from the work account. Everyone will be worse off except those with significant shares in the insurance companies (mostly Australians and John Key’s mates).

    You already have a choice in your premiums there are things you can do to earn a discount on ACC payments. There is no profit making company that can provide the same service for less.

  9. Felix 9

    The best insurance is to be self insured…or being able to afford all te potential expenses you and your family may need to make but if your are not fortunate enough then the next best thing is to be insured. This , despite insurance as unreliable as it is, there remains someone you can sue…

    [Hi – welcome aboard! If you plan to comment again, would you mind choosing another handle? We already have a well established Felix here. Thanks — r0b]

  10. feijoa 10

    Speaking as a health provider who worked with the previous experiment, the problems we encountered were

    -injuries were badly managed – injured people being sent to inappropriate providers, or just no action at all
    -many, many reports about injured workers done by doctors we had never heard of
    – recommendations in reports not carried out
    -the insurance company controlling what health providers you see -no choice for the injured worker- the control was taken away from health providers and the injured worker and put firmly in the companies hands
    – the private insurance companies didn’t pay their bills, and many health providers were left out of pocket.
    -some companies set up other smaller companies and shifted claims from company to company I guess in the hope people would give up chasing round in circles
    -When insurance companies didn’t pay, often employers were coughing up for direct health costs -this depends on the bargaining power of the worker, and the kindness of the boss, but it is a hidden cost for the employer
    -And of course I saw many injured workers say “oops, I forgot, I actually didn’t do this at work, I did it at home” and hurriedly change their ACC45 form. If they try and tell you privatisation lowers workplace injuries -THAT’S why

  11. Jum 11

    ACC – I shall look forward to Phil Goff announcing that he will reverse that idiot Key selloff to the business rotundtable scavengers.

    I shall also expect him to tell the buyers of ACC that any profit they have made in the interim, any costs they have caused New Zealanders, will be taken out of the amount paid to take the asset that belongs to New Zealanders back. In fact, I will expect Mr Goff to halve the amount paid by the scavengers that is paid back to them because they were screwing the New Zealand worker and should have known better.

    Because Key will ram the TPPA through before the election, which means all of us are then owned by foreignors, in line with Key’s instructions from America/China – whoever will pay him the most – we need to put in writing that anything signed over to America is null and void when Labour/Progressive/Greens gets into Government this year.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Yes, renationalisation of all privatised assets at 50% of their initial sale price.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.2

      I shall also expect him to tell the buyers of ACC that any profit they have made in the interim, any costs they have caused New Zealanders, will be taken out of the amount paid to take the asset that belongs to New Zealanders back.

      Nope, just tell them that there will be no compensation paid at all when state services are renationalised.

  12. Rob 12

    Really have to wonder when they will give up trying to privatise everything. I wonder what would be the response if they tried to privatise something like the military…

    • rosy 12.1

      …Haliburton (NZ) Ltd?

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        Blackwater International. (Now renamed Xe).

        As Gaddaffi found, its easier to find troops to fire on your own people if you use a foreign private military force rather than local soldiers from those same towns.

    • Jum 12.2

      Rob,

      I thought Key and Co were handing the military over in the TPPA?

  13. Descendant Of Smith 13

    Worth linking back to this older thread where a couple of us shared some of our experience working with private insurers.

    More Christmas Surprises

    I’d add to this the other problem is that it is totally up to the employer as to whether the employee gets to stay with ACC or goes to a private insurer. The employee has no choice or input.

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