New Zealand used to pride itself on the fact that it had the best Accident Compensation scheme in the world. It allowed people to have a dignified stand down when they were injured, either at work or in other areas of their lives. The scheme even extended (and it still does) to overseas tourists, who if they met with an accident, receive full support and treatment.
Sadly over the years it has become a political football, with various political parties sniping away at one another while the scheme is chopped and changed to suit the vagaries of the politicians.
In the last few months the scheme has come under attack from within. It seems that the managers and leaders are determined to bring the scheme into disrepute. Leaked papers and case notes along with inept management have taken a great deal of gloss from the scheme. It has become a focus of ‘question time’ in parliament, where once again the politicians fire shots at one another, all in the interests of their own agendas.
There is an ideological battle going on between the proponents of ‘privatisation’ and state funded options. In the meantime a culture has developed where profits are seen as more important than sound delivery of the programme. That means people suffer as allowances are challenged, all in the name of efficiency.
The public are angry as yet another example of ‘market policy’ agendas affects their lives. It is becoming all too common as the Government extends its policies to more and more sectors of the economy. The easy ride the Government has had so far is coming to an end. They are finally being challenged, not just from within parliamentary circles but in the wider community. Even their allies in parliament have expressed discomfort at some of their moves.
The honeymoon is well and truly over.