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Will you vote for higher levies?

Written By: - Date published: 4:17 pm, July 21st, 2008 - 20 comments
Categories: ACC, election 2008, national - Tags:

If National wins the election, it will privatise the Work Account of ACC (and maybe other ‘profitable’ accounts). We know that this may have negative effects on coverage for workers but the problems go further taking out the Work Account may compromise the whole ACC system.

Every year, ACC needs to run a surplus so that it can add to its reserves to close the gap between reserves and liabilities. Much like the Cullen Fund is a way of saving up to fund future superannuation payments with present tax, ACC’s reserves is a way of saving up now for higher claims from an aging population in coming years. If it does not, it will mean higher levies in coming years. As you can see, removing the Work Account slashes that surplus to nearly nothing.

Insurance companies would make $200 million in profit, most of which goes overseas, and the rest of us will be left with a financially criplled ACC, which will need higher levies to survive or will collapse.

Voting National means profits to Aussie insurers, which we will pay for in worse work coverage and higher levies

20 comments on “Will you vote for higher levies? ”

  1. Mike Collins 1

    Hi guys,

    Kindly acknowledging that this is off topic and that SP blogged on how NZ First was not Labour’s responsibility the other day, I would like to ask the following:

    Will there be a post from anyone forthcoming in the next couple of days that acknowledges the elephant in the room?

    I do note that there seems to be a large degree of scrutiny regarding right-leaning politicians on this site. That simply makes the omission of content regarding Winston’s acknowledgement all the more glaring.

    I’m genuinely interested in what the contributors of this site think should happen and how they think Helen Clark as Prime Minister should deal with questions of corruption and frugality with the truth surrounding one of her ministers.

    I also kindly ask that you do not delete this comment. I have been very careful to be civil, as I usually am. I know this is your blog and the themes are up to you but I think it is important that you address this.

    Thank you

    [lprent: As far as I can remember, you’ve never been banned. That is the only time we zap comments. Anything else is the vagaries of the net, spam engine, and strange browsers (like IE6). As you say, you offer clear arguments, so you’d be unlikely to get banned.

    As to the other stuff, the usual answer is that posters write about what they want to and pretty much when they want to.]

  2. Jeremy Eade 2

    You know Mike, this funding shit is a mess and needs cleaning up thoroughly.

    I get the feeling the resaon this shit doesn’t stink as much as it should is that all the parties have been doing it for a long time, none of them are innocent.

    There’s been these kind of invisible trusts for years in parties as far as we’re told. It’s typical of Winnies small party handicaps that he gets his finger caught in the jar but come on , the elephant is a lot bigger than a legal fund set up to keep his political party alive.

    Let’s have publicly funded elections. It will hurt but it will be a lot better than this shit. Let’s put some thought into our democratic process.

  3. Phil 3

    “If National wins the election, it will privatise the Work Account of ACC ”

    You don’t know that. They’ve said their going to look at it.
    Unless you’re privy to something confidential (which then begs the question; why are you blogging it?) you’re spinning.

    Alternatively, are we to take as gospel truth that Labour will reinstate manufacturing our own trains? After all, they’ve said they’re going to “investigate it” too.

  4. Jeremy Eade 4

    “Unless you’re privy to something confidential (which then begs the question; why are you blogging it?) you’re spinning.”

    No, he’s looking at figures, Thank god someone actually is. Is s right? I haven’t decdided yet. Convince me otherwise. Will this weaken ACC making it an increased burdon on us? Theres every resaon to question what might happen to this market, because it’s a very important market, worker safety is very important.

  5. lemsip 5

    A few quick points.

    National has NOT said it will privatise ACC. It has said it will “investigate opening the Work Account to competition.” This is very different to privatisation as you probably know Steve but as per usual you’re behaving in a partisan way that does you a disservice.

    Given the above it is disingenous to provide an analysis of ACC surpluses with and without the Work Account. If ACC was opened to competition it is highly likely that they will continue to recieve some quantum of funding through work premiums as they would maintain some market share – that is if they are efficient and provide products the marketplace is happy with within a framework of rules set through the political process.

    Moreover, the work account is intended to fund workplace accidents etc… not other forms of accidents. As the ACC website states the Work Account funds “Work-related personal injuries to employees, self-employed people, shareholder-employees and private domestic workers.” Any accidents that happen outside the workplace are funded through the Earners Account and Non-Earners Account. The latter is funded through general taxation and is specifically tagged for amongst other groups: Retired People. http://www.acc.co.nz/about-acc/WCM000119

    I haven’t had a chance to look at the legislation and the powers of the ACC but it would seem that they would be using the funding streams inappropriately if they were using the Work Account surpluses to help prepare for an aging population unless this was specifically tagged to changing workplace demographics due to an aging population. I doubt that very much. Moreover, funding for retired people comes from the Non-Earners account as outlined above. This is paid through general taxation. Whether taxation levels should be raised or lowered to cover an aging population is a political decision to be decided through the political process. It should not be the decision of a CE Board at arms length from the political process using surplus funding from an account which appears specifically tagged for another purpose. This is weak accountability and lacks transparency. And here I was thinking you were a defender of the political process.

    Personally I think this post is just cheap political framing.

  6. C’mon Steve – instead of beating up something that National has NOT said it will do, why don’t you talk about Peters? Come on – you KNOW you want to!!

  7. Do youse seriously believe that there is a chance National won’t privatise the Work Account by opening it to competition?

    If your answer is yes, I’ve got a water-powered car you might be interested in.

    Also – I should have noted that the source of the figures is the ACC annual report 2007 and (as with all govt annual reports) the figures are in 000s.

  8. lprent 8

    As far as I’m concerned the Nat’s have said that they want to privatize ACC.

    The mere fact they put some weasel words around it (“investigate opening it up to competition”) simply says that they’re too hypocritical to say what they want to do. They haven’t given any basis for why they think this will benefit NZ as a whole. It is easy to point out how ‘competition’ could benefit individual employers. It is a lot harder to show how it will benefit individual employees.

    I certainly can’t see how “competition” could improve the overall performance of either liability insurance over the whole of society. The Nat’s haven’t even attempted to describe how they’d see this happening.

    But of course that is pretty typical of any C/T inspired campaign. Try to divert hard questions about policy into trivialities, attack the questioners, etc etc

    Ummm look at those comments above…. Most could have been written in a C/T work room. Care to comment on that?

  9. Yo! IV2 – how about you start a blog and put up a post on Peters?
    Oh? What’s that? You already have? And nobody read it? Then stop your whinging…

  10. Jeremyb Eade 10

    “I certainly can’t see how “competition’ could improve the overall performance of either liability insurance over the whole of society.”

    I think this is the debate. What will the improvements be? Explain the improvements?

    The reason why privitisation is such a potentially “dirty” word to me is the shameful history of health coverage in America. Simplistic maybe but I know I’m not alone at looking at that market and feeling amazed at it’s inability to provide.

    Will this benefit us all long term or just some of us?

  11. Lew 11

    Phil and lemsip: Either of you care to take up my challenge and form an argument for how `choice’ in the work account doesn’t inevitably end up in privatisation?

    Nobody has done so yet, but I’m dead keen to hear your ideas.

    L

  12. Remember, ACC has a legal responsiblity to provide inury treatment and compensation, and a political responsiblity to do so as efficently as possible.

    Private companies have a responsility to their shareholders to maximise profit.

    One has delivering the service at the heart of its reason for existing, the other doesn’t.

    In fact, not paying out can be just another way to increase profits.

  13. lprent 13

    Completely off topic.

    Wow Steve – better check the fingers on the keyboard..

    BTW: You notice that Whale site is down. I see that that bloated one’s technical expertise is showing.

    Update: Explanation from Russell Brown on the bloated one. Now this a seriously funny bit of writing.
    This whole, glorious trainwreck

  14. vto 14

    Mr P, I aint followed too much of your ACC posts but a consistent theme of yours is the fact that non-public suppliers will make a profit and that money will be lost to the govt.

    If that is a robust argument then, surely, every supplier of goods and services in the economy should be nationalised.

  15. vto 15

    One more thing Mr P, you say above “One has delivering the service at the heart of its reason for existing, the other doesn’t.”

    This statement is very revealing of your understanding of business.

    If business doesn’t deliver it goes out of business quicker than the blast of a left wing blog at a right wing politician who has failed to account for his donations.

  16. SP – “Youse”?

    Oh dear; some days I despair for our education system. Of all the abuses perpetrated on the English language “youse” is right at the top!

  17. Inv2. Don’t be a dick.

    I’ll choose to write in informal English if I choose and if you don’t like it you can write all about it on your blog.

  18. Pascal's bookie 18

    I wonder what the terms of reference for a Tory investigation into ACC might be.

    “Investigate the benefits of opening up aspects of ACC to competition”

    That’d do it.

  19. Snelly Boy 19

    “National has NOT said it will privatise ACC. It has said it will “investigate opening the Work Account to competition.’

    As I posted here some months ago, National WILL open up the workers account to competition (despite compelling evidence to the contrary). That is what they’ve assured and promised us i.e. the insurance industry.

    Just the way Maurice Williamson today stated emphatically that the only policy he could share was that National will hold a binding referendum on MMP. That’s it. The one and only policy he could share with a select business audience.

    Pitiful.

  20. Ed 20

    Technically National have given themselves an out by saying they will investigate, but their statements to Merrill Lynch have clearly gone beyond that, and even the statement about investigating was more about how and when other accounts would be opened up than whether they would do it at all.

    I’m not sure about the surplus issue – as I understand it the work-place accounts will average out as covering the cost of benefits and expenses over time – ie no net profit or loss from it. There will of course be fluctuations from year to year, but any surplus or deficit should be carried forward and result in an adjustment to premiums. The non-work account is paid from the consolidated account – what the right wing like to call money belonging to taxpayers.

    National are I suspect starting to realise that the policy is not being accepted by the business community – expect to hear more about investigations and less about the benefits of competition that they cannot seem to articulate.

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