Red Alert

Posts Tagged ‘Christchurch Earthquake’

Another Parata communication triumph

Posted by on February 8th, 2013

Within the next two weeks Hekia Parata will be charged with announcing the fate of several dozen Canterbury schools. Consultation on merger and closure proposals ended just before Christmas and Parata  supposedly spent her extended summer break reading them.

While all of those schools wait on tenterhooks to hear their fate, Parata decided today to announce the government’s plans to open six brand new schools in Christchurch. Talk about a slap in the face to all of the schools still waiting to hear what the future holds for them.

Nobody doubts that significant change is required. The population has moved around in Christchurch, and as a result some schools have shrunk to the point where they are no longer viable while others are bursting at the seams.

But there is a way to do this. It starts with respect for the school communities affected. Shepherding all the principals and BOTs into a hall and giving them colour-coded name badges to indicate whether they were closing, merging, or remaining wasn’t a great start. Announcing the opening of new schools before telling the existing schools of their fate rubs further salt into the wounds.

Hekia Parata has a difficult job to do, but she seems determined to make it even harder for herself. Her handling of the Christchurch schooling situation has demonstrated arrogance and a total lack of respect. The people of Christchurch deserve better.

Quake will cost ACC $200 million

Posted by on April 24th, 2011

The Sunday Star Times has reported today that ACC expects the cost of compensation and treatment for those injured in the Christchurch Earthquake to be about $200 million. So far ACC has received 7666 claims, making the February quake the biggest single mass injury event in ACC’s 37-year history.

ACC’s head of injury prevention and insurance products, Peter Wood, said that although the long-term costs to the corporation would be high, they were manageable.

“Obviously additional claims from the Christchurch earthquake will increase costs and ACC funding requirements,” he said.

“However, the overall size of ACC allows for these increased costs to be absorbed with the current levies or funding structure without significant increases being required.”

The costs had to be seen in the context of ACC’s $16 billion in reserves and claims costs each year of more than $3b.

“It is therefore unlikely that the long-term cost of these claims will have an impact on ACC levy rates in the future.”

This highlights once again how crazy the National Party are to try and privatise parts of ACC. As a single, nationalised scheme, ACC is able to absorb the impact of a big event like the Christchurch earthquake without too many problems.

I blogged a couple of weeks ago about the impending collapse of AMI Insurance and how National’s ACC privatisation plans could lead to a similar outcome. I’m not at all surprised that Nick Smith is delaying announcing their preferred options. Carving off a big chunk of ACC and handing it to the private insurance industry right at the time you’re having to bail out one of the big players isn’t a good look in anyone’s book.

Then there is the issue of Nick Smith’s (sensible) move to ensure that victims of the earthquake received cover for the first week of injury if they weren’t able to work. Normally that cost would either have to be met by the employer for a work-related injury, or the individual themselves. Had the government already privatised the ACC work account, they wouldn’t have been able to do this as they would have effectively been instructing a private insurance company to provide cover over and above what the victim was entitled to.

ACC is a good scheme. Sure there are some areas that we’d all like to see improved, but National’s plan to farm it out to the private insurance industry is just nuts. They should go back to the drawing board and leave ACC alone.