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Friday, March 6

Kiwis will be forced into private accident insurance

National’s plans to slash ACC cover will result in New Zealanders being forced to take out private accident insurance, says Labour ACC spokesman David Parker.

“A significant reduction in entitlements and services means people will no longer be able to rely on ACC if they have an accident.

“ACC Minister Nick Smith said today that ACC entitlements and services were being reviewed and that “significant changes” will result in order to cut costs.

“Dr Smith complains about the cost of the scheme – but fails to acknowledge ACC is far cheaper than overseas schemes and also ignores the costs which will be incurred by injured New Zealanders and their families once the Government cuts services and entitlements,” David Parker said.

“If you fall over in the bath, are injured playing sport or in a car accident you know that under the current scheme: you will be treated, you’ll get home help if you need it, access to rehabilitation and financial support while you’re off work.

“These fundamental safeguards are now in jeopardy. New Zealanders need to know which entitlements and services they will now have to pay for out of their own pockets,” said David Parker.

“The cost of an injury for a person who becomes a tetraplegic as the result of a car crash can be millions of dollars over the course of a lifetime. This is the worst-case scenario, but highlights the type of situation any New Zealander could suddenly face and why the current protection is so important.

“While some New Zealanders can afford private accident insurance, many on lower incomes can’t,” David Parker said.

“New Zealanders are right to question whether this is softening people up for privatisation.

‘We believe New Zealanders want the protection of what is internationally accepted to be a world-class scheme.

“Dr Smith’s criticisms about the size of the liability are particularly rich given the proportion of liabilities that are unfunded has decreased substantially from 64 per cent in 1999, when National was last in government, to 45 per cent in December 2008 when Labour left office,” David Parker said.

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