The report from the Transport & Industrial Relations Select Committee on the government’s ACC bill was tabled in the House today. This is the bill that slashes ACC entitlements. I blogged on just one of the provisions recently, and Labour’s media release outlines the other changes.
The protests will continue. The bikers have joined ACC Futures Coalition and will rally outside parliament next Tuesday. Labour and the Greens will fight the bill throughout all parliamentary stages, because it is wrong, wrong, wrong.
The Maori Party have a call to make on this one. Remember, they agreed to support the ACC bill when ACT was refusing to. which gave the numbers to get the bill through first reading. ACT later came to the party, agreeing to support the bill through all stages with a deal to open up ACC’s work account to competition (in other words, privatisation).
The Maori Party said they wanted to let the people to have a say on the bill, and they would listen to the submissions and decide on whether they continued their support.
Rahui Katene said during the first reading that :
“……..We agreed to support the introduction of the bill and its referral to a select committee so that people can express their views. We want to hear about people’s experience with the scheme. Among others, we want to hear from workers and their wh?nau who have suffered an injury, health workers, and providers of rehabilitation services. We do this so that the accident compensation scheme can once again be a world leader; so that it can be affordable, fair, and culturally competent; and so that it can remember always to focus on the best interests of the community.”
Unfortunately, no MP from the Maori Party was at any of the Select Committee hearings to listen to the people, including those representing the 400,000 seasonal and casual workers, many of whom are Maori and the large number of Maori who work in primary industries, where injury rates are high – who will lose big time from this bill.
However, it seems that the Maori Party might have other interests. Katene said during the first reading that :
“There is another dimension to our decision to vote for this bill’s being referred to select committee to let the people have a say on accident compensation, and that is the potential for M?ori entrepreneurship and enterprise to rise to the opportunity for innovation. In 2007 ACC undertook a risk-profile review with groups within the Ng?i Tahu umbrella, resulting in a considerable annual levy reduction. The Federation of M?ori Authorities has also been interested in pursuing dialogue around levy rates and the possibility of a M?ori consortium leading a corporate arrangement with ACC, possibly focusing initially on specific industry sectors such as forestry, fishing, construction, and farming.”
Another big call for the Maori Party. I wonder if this one is a deal-breaker – or indeed if anything is?