• Murray McCully
Accident Insurance

The Labour party has "waved a white flag of surrender in the ACC debate" says ACC Minister Murray McCully.

The Minister was referring to the Opposition's decision yesterday to decline to debate ACC on the list of available estimates for debate.

"The Labour party have made a great deal of ACC as a 'line in the sand' issue for the election," he said. "Yesterday they could have chosen to spend an hour or two having an ACC debate over the estimates, yet they advised our whips that they declined to give even 30 minutes to an ACC debate.

"The truth is that all of their dire predictions have been proven wrong. Over $200 million in premiums is being saved by employers this year rising to $300 million next year. And the greater employer consciousness of workplace safety will be +a huge benefit for employees.

"As a result the Labour party is running for cover. The ACC questions in the House are coming from the Government, not the Labour party. And now they don't want to debate ACC estimates. They know that that would put the spotlight on the exorbitant costs, both in monetary and safety terms, of their ACC policy which would see the new workplace insurance market nationalised, lump sums reintroduced, illness included and which would removed incentives to focus on health and safety by abolishing experience rating.

"I am informed that Michael Cullen has been taking a hammering from employers in his recent meetings, having to ignominiously explain that his hands are tied by the left in his own party, and the need to placate Mr Anderton. He has simply been telling employers that he will do what he can to water down their ACC policy if Labour were elected.

"Dr Cullen will be particularly annoyed that the CTU has organised a special Loony Left Conference on ACC for this Friday, featuring, of course Ruth Dyson and Laila Harre. The Government is hoping it will get widespread publicity".