Key says ACC reform has been delayed – again

The political storm around the ACC has delayed government plans to allow greater competition for the scheme.

The political storm around the Accident Compensation Corporation has delayed government plans to allow greater competition for the scheme.

Ministers and officials have been consulting on options for the scheme over the past few months and the government had planned to have an outline of options by the end of the month.

"Unfortunately, that's not going to be possible now," Prime Minister John Key said at his post-Cabinet press conference yesterday afternoon, in response to questions from NBR ONLINE.

The departure of ACC chairman John Judge, whose work heading up the ACC stocktake over 2009-10 laid the groundwork for the government's plans for greater competition in the scheme, along with chief executive Ralph Stewart and several other board members means the governments plans are delayed – again.

National went into the 2011 election promising competition for ACC cover for workplace accidents, which costs employers $1.4 billion a year in levies, and also to look at allowing competition for motor vehicle accident cover.

At the time then-ACC Minister Nick Smith promised to have proposals outlined by February this year, but incoming minister Judith Collins reviewed the options and pulled back from that timing.

One reason is understood to be the unexpected ACC levy cut, announced by the government six weeks before the 2011 election, which made it uneconomical for private insurers to compete with the ACC.

Consultations over recent months are understood to canvass the possibility of extending the current accredited employer scheme – which a number of the country's largest employers take part in – to other, smaller workplaces.