Privatisation still on National´s agenda

Despite no one wanting it besides the ACT party, National is persisting on the path towards privatising ACC. Business doesn’t want it, the EMA doesn’t want it, doctors don’t want it and unions don’t want it. Most workers don´t want it because it is so confusing.

Still, National´s ACC spokeswoman Pansy Wong is keeping it on the agenda. At least ACT comes straight out and says what they believe – that it should be completely privatised. Even United Future has a clear policy on introducing competition into the scheme. Meanwhile, afraid to show their true colours, National keeps hinting at it and talking around it, all the while making it clear to their constituents that this is where they are going.

The EMA says they are not keen on private insurers. ¨The research doesn´t indicate that it´s the best option.¨ says Paul Jarvie of the EMA in today´s Herald.

What continues to amaze me is that so many voters, who do not support a return to privatisation, continue to fall for the mixed and hedged rhetoric that National has been pushing, all of which points to a direct return to the heady days of the 1990´s.

Just like we did with the world´s second most efficient electricity system in the 1990´s, we look set to privatise for purely ideological reasons with a promise of cheaper rates. We know where that got us with the power generators…

 

14 thoughts on “Privatisation still on National´s agenda

  1. “Just like we did with the world´s second most efficient electricity system in the 1990´s, we look set to privatise for purely ideological reasons with a promise of cheaper rates. We know where that got us with the power generators…”

    Um, unless I am mistaken, only one of the power generators was privatised, and that was Contact Energy. The other ones are still state owned, and of course behave like any monopoly would. Of course, I am in favour of privatisation because while we may have had the world’s second most efficient electricity system under state ownership, we also had the world’s most inefficient railways (even more inefficient than India!), we had to wait six months to get a dial telephone with the state telephone provider. In short, state ownership = inefficient + political interference.

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  2. From my own experience with ACC, (long term work related injury) I do most certainly want to see ACC retained as the sole provider.

    Sure, it is not a perfect organisation but it works a great deal better for most people than does the oft mentioned Australian workcover.

    I have had Australian based friends says that they envy us our ACC.

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  3. How old are you Sam?

    In the 1970’s it was not unusaul in new subdivisions to wait 6 to 12 months or even two years for the then Post Office to upgrade and make more numbers available to service a new subdivision.

    Thats the problem with old age, you remember to much!

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  4. I agree frog – a further example this week is the price gouging and the feather bedding of Directors fees by Contact. And those who are the NZ share holders and are jumping up and down are probably the same people who will be out there voting blue! Beats me!
    It’s ideology – and they say those with a concern for the environment are idealists!

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  5. Why mess with ACC – something that is working perfectly well? Well it could be that your mates in the insurance industry are slipping your team a few big ones so that they can get a piece of the action. Frankly I can’t think of any other reason. I’d love to hear that it wasn’t true. But I do remember that a major player in the private health system was behind the National Party in the run up to the last election, and there was a strong plank then of more health dollars going to fund private health. Has anything changed?

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  6. And ACC is planned to be self sufficient by 2014. Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.

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  7. And it ain’t that broke. Sure, it needs some tweaks re the cover criteria, because people with clearly injury-related conditions such as chronic pain syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivity, miss out. And the staff need some training to mitigate the “exit” mentality that was instilled under the last National-led Government.

    Hey, but the Nat’s plan for privatising. Well, I;ve talked about that in another context here.

    And the Nats’ brief experiment with privatised ACC in 1999/2000 was a complete disaster from a claimant’s point of view – denied cover and entitlements to maximise the private insurers’ profits was my experience (as an advocate for claimants during that time, so I do know something about it, for those who will challenge my credentials to address this issue).

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  8. Valis
    ACC is self sufficient, it just didn’t (pre Garry Wilson as CEO) look to actuarialise its risk. Garry implemented the ‘catch-up’ that was planned to have all existing claims covered by reserves and all new claims reserved for in the year the claim was accepted. He also led the push to address Injury Prevention (including the Sport Smart programme) as well as introducing a large number of efficiency measures and employee engagement enhancement measures.
    Garry came from a commercial background, though initially from NZ Post. What the new CEO, who is ex-CEO of a DHB and very politically aligned, will do is yet to be publicly seen. Certainly, it would appear that cost has increased and efficiency reduced since she took over.

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  9. Cool, just make sure that if the CEO is deemed to be incompetent, that’s not used as an excuse to privatise, rather than just get a better CEO.

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  10. The big issues about ACC privatization are ideological :

    * Do we want it to be an insurance scheme (everyone pays according to their level of risk, and if you can’t afford the premiums, you don’t get covered)
    * Or a solidarity mechanism? (everyone pays a premium depending on their means, and you’re garanteed a no-fault payout in case of accidents)

    * Should it be provided commercially (with insurance companies creaming off x% of the premiums every year, and being shirty about paying out on claims)
    * Or as a non-profit service?

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  11. One does have to wonder why the ACC motor vehicle levies keep increasing when the serious injury rate has declined by two thirds over the last 20 years and most that improvement occurred in the first 10 of those years and came mostly from the younger age groups.

    The only logical explanation is that the risk of serious injury increases dramaticly in the later years of life thus we are experiencing one of the first examples of the costs of an aging population.

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  12. Kevyn Says:
    October 26th, 2008 at 5:13 am

    > One does have to wonder why the ACC motor vehicle levies keep increasing when the serious injury rate has declined by two thirds over the last 20 years and most that improvement occurred in the first 10 of those years and came mostly from the younger age groups.

    Doctors give accident victims the best treatment they can give (at least in the acute phase after the accident – follow-up treatment months or years down the track may be affected by penny-pinching). Because of technological advances, the best treatment they can give is better than it used to be, but also more expensive.

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  13. Kevin
    the problem is not aging but technology!
    20 years ago you had a bad accident and you died.
    Today, you have a bad accident and you probably live, as a para- or tetraplegic. The cost of supporting you medically and environmentally is huge, as is the cost of income replacement. Hence the increased premiums.
    It’s the same as the cost of the health system. 20 years ago, if you had a dicky heart you were prob ably going to live a few years and pass on. Today, with the help of a few hundred thousand for operations, and an annual bill in the tens of thousands for medicines you can be kept alive fr decades. Long ago, if your hips ‘went’ you sat in a chair and carried on. Today a $60,000 operation and $10,000 of after care puts you (literally) back on your feet! 20 years ago, if a woman had breast cancer she lost the breast – today, for $75,000 a year she can put the cancer into remission.
    Technology can do many things – at a cost. All you have to do is pay.

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