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July 18, 2008 | by  | in Online Only | [ssba]

The Nat’s continue to defend ACC… badly.

The Nat’s ACC policy has already been dubbed the “Australian Cash Cow” Policy, but yet the Nats are still trying to defend the policy as one that will benefit small and middle New Zealand. To date, they’ve been unable to explain why that is the case, and how its going to happen.

Merrill Lynch have already strongly indicated that they are waiting in the wings for a privatization opportunity, and look set to take 200 million from the health coverage of ordinary New Zealander’s, and instead funnel it off into corporate Australia. My bugbear is not really with the fact that the Nats are offering this as a policy, as a center right party with a noticeable neo-liberal twinge this election, its not surprising that something like this is on the table. What does irk me however is when they try to pass it off as a policy that will empower the everyday man, and everyday employer. It will not, and National are yet to provide any substantive analysis of why it would.

Up till now the everyday man has been protected by the safe warm blanket of comprehensive ACC coverage for accidents and injuries. While the legal community and DHBs may have their gripes, its generally been regarded as a system that is working for, and in the best interests of citizens. So much in fact that it has become a model emulated and studied around the world. Theres a reason why in 2005 National kept their ACC policy (which they formulated with the insurance industry) under wraps for as long as a possible – Its a deal breaking issue. And I’ve already come across disenfranchised centrists, who were going to vote Blue, and who are now back-pedaling as fast as possible due to this policy. The ideological merits or foibles of choice and freedom aside, National needs to back up its rhetoric, and it needs to engage voters on this issue, flipping them off, as the video below illustrates, aint winning anyone over.


About the Author ()

Conrad is a very grumpy boy. When he was little he had a curl in the middle of his forehead. When he was good, he was moderately good, but when he was mean he was HORRID. He likes guns, bombs and shooting doves. He can often be found reading books about Mussolini and tank warfare. His greatest dream is to invent an eighteen foot high mechanical spider, which has an antimatter lazer attached to its back.

Comments (15)

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  1. That man has no idea how to answer questions. Smile and bluster, and say Small Business a lot and you will get… precisely nowhere Chris. You just make it look even more like you’re hiding something, especially when you attempt to attack the whole idea of taking questions from the floor.

  2. Naly D says:

    My boss. (with the long lucious ginger locks)

  3. Unconvinced of the extent this is a turn-off for voters, or even an interesting issue.

    I just wanna bitch for a moment about moronism from those who say this amounts to “giving [money] to Aussie insurers.” Nobody’s talking of giving anything away. All that is being talked about is allowing businesses to buy insurance from Australian insurance firms.

    I haven’t had a close look at the relevant issues—I really can’t be fucked—so I’m not going take a position on whether this is good policy or bad. I’m just going to say that the arguments I’ve seen in the press and the blogs against the policy have mostly been crap. Whether the people who made the crap arguments did so out of ignorance or were merely being disingenuous is also something I’m not going to comment on.

    Speaking to Conrad’s point: National’s rhetoric on the issue is moronic, and this is so because of the policy’s history. There was non-catastophic, non-interesting legislation on this repealed by Labour around 1999–2000, seemingly only because National passed it. It’s just a political tanty.

    I expect to be reading about a lot more of these phantom centrists turned off National by scandal/policy X, Y, or Z as the campaign wears on from writers less talented than Conrad. I expect Conrad to stop offering up such weak soup.

    And sorry for veering off-topic, but an alternative headline could be: “Conrad continues to use apostrophes… badly”.

  4. Thanks for adding to the debate Blaise. Its great to see there are people out there who are reaching for high hanging fruits. And not just commenting on busy peoples sloppy use of the apostrophe. Great stuff.

  5. Jackson Wood says:

    Fixed the formatting. You really should read the emails I send you about these things Mr. Reyners.

  6. James Malthus says:

    Yes, we can’t give money away to Australian businesses; from that it’s only one short step to them invading us. Oh no, occupied by people who actually value competition!

  7. “There was non-catastophic, non-interesting legislation on this repealed by Labour around 1999–2000, seemingly only because National passed it.”

    I cannot help but think that this situation is analogous to that of Auckland Central Remand, whose management was opened up to private contractors under National and, according to Greg Newbold, was a success only repealed by Labour because of politics.

    However in both cases, the sensitive nature of these institution’s roles suggests that a state monopoly on force and law means private companies, especially offshore ones, should not have such responsibilities. So I’m in two minds.

  8. James Malthus says:

    I think that if people really want to stick by ACC they will, and I doubt how many kiwis can actaully afford much in the way of health insurance anyway.

  9. Conrad: Thanks. Always nice to be appreciated :) As I said, I agree with your point on the incipient moronism in National’s rhetoric on this question, which seems to be the main point of the post. It’s just that the rest reads weak to me.

    Tristan: I was in the House once when Margaret Wilson defended the decision to end private ownership of ACRP. Her justification involved “inappropriate power relationships” between privately-employed staff/guards and prisoners. I can see this point, and part of me buys it.

    More opaque to me is why workplace accident insurance should _in principle_ be a state-held monopoly, as that pompous questioner in the video seems to believe. What exactly is this “sensitive nature” of ACC’s role that you speak of?

    I’d be open to argument on the question of the best policy _in practice_ if this wasn’t all so fucking boring. In a better society, that boring stuff is what the debate would be centred on, and I’d be sipping margaritas by a swimming pool and still not caring.

    And in fairness to Conrad, I should note that Tristan also managed to fuck up an apostrophe.

  10. Pluralisation fail

  11. Michael Oliver says:


    Can’t someone like, I dunno, Petter Dunne set himself on fire for a change? Fucking hell.

  12. James Malthus says:

    Well Winston Peters has done about as close to that as I think anyone would.

  13. Dunne’s too wet to burn.

  14. Michael Oliver says:


  15. Hans says:

    He actually IS a “left leaning Labour Party guy”… that’s “Steve Pierson” (Clinton Smith) from the Standard.

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