Monday, August 17, 2009

Is the NZ Government crazy?

New Zealand is set to slash support for rehabilitation treatment in November, following moves by the National Party-led Government. ACC, the government-owned accident and rehabilitation insurance, will soon stop free rehabilitation treatment for injured New Zealanders.

Beginning November 16, injured New Zealanders will have to pay a “co-pay” for all rehabilitation treatment. This is happening because the National-led Government has refused to increase subsidies to ACC, and neither are they providing any payments for injured low income New Zealanders.

And, by the way, New Zealanders were never consulted on whether they wanted this.

The slashing of funding means that some people will no longer be able to afford rehabilitation for their injuries—how many we can’t know yet. And the fact that some New Zealanders won’t be able to afford rehabilitation will mean that they risk becoming permanently disabled, which will cost taxpayers far more than fully-funding their rehabilitation.

So, is the government crazy? Yes, but not just because it’s abandoning injured New Zealanders. It’s crazy because this is all part of their plan to privatise ACC.

A little over five months ago I wrote about how National was spinning a web of distortion about ACC, pretending that things are much worse than they really are—in fact, National was ignoring that things were actually far worse when they were last in power, until Labour fixed it.

While National has “promised” not to sell any state-owned assets in its first term, they also have said they’ll open up ACC to “competition” (which is privatisation by another name). The draconian changes to ACC are part of National’s plan: They want to make ACC so awful, so useless that people will flock to private companies, thereby allowing them to claim that “market conditions” have “forced their hand” in selling-off ACC.

Does it sound like I don’t trust the National Party? Given their recent behaviour, why on earth should I? And yes, the National-led government is crazy—crazy like a fox.


liminalD said...

This is bloody depressing. I KNEW we could expect this sort of thing when this government got in last year... I don't feel like I'm living in the same country anymore. It just makes me mad... so many people I know either didn't bother to vote or simply jumped on the 'it's time for a change' bandwagon, without even thinking about who they were voting for and what those people stand for. Regardless of your political views, I think it's a tragedy of apathy. Sigh... how much are flights to Denmark these days??

Roger Owen Green said...

Off topic, New Zealand: New Research Report on Community Created Content

Arthur Schenck said...

liminalD: I think you're right. I noticed a lot of people who seem to think every so many years "the other guys" should get a crack at government. The important thing that both National and the media ignore is that there wasn't a dramatic surge in support for National so much as a drop off in support for Labour—put another way, Labour's voters stayed away from the polling booths.

To be fair, this does suggest that Labour supporters felt disillusioned by their own party—they had their own problems, in other words. But how much of that was the result of news media creating controversy?

The hugely ironic thing for me in particular is that centre-left voters may say the same thing you did about leaving, but in my homeland they're still saying the same that about their country, too, despite the election of a Democratic President and Congress. Maybe it just shows how far the right now influences governments.

Roger: I downloaded the report so I can check it out. But I do know that NZ generally has been aggressive about making official documents and collections held by the National Library and others freely available online. It's getting to point where most of what a researched might want to know is available at their own computer, and I'm sure much more will follow.