Act deal involves look at competition

By Audrey Young

Rodney Hide. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Rodney Hide. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Prime Minister John Key met Act leader Rodney Hide in the Beehive last night in a bid to secure Act's support for the ACC bill released last week.

The deal is expected to involve National giving urgency to investigating opening the ACC work account to competition.

Mr Key yesterday defended the failure of ACC Minister Nick Smith to get support before releasing the draft bill last week, one of several issues that have raised questions about the Government's political management.

Mr Key said if the ACC work account was opened up to competition, National would "need to be convinced that there were benefits both to the Government and the private sector".

Defending Dr Smith, he said National had to win the support of its partners on each piece of legislation.

Mr Key said it had been important for National to put its preferred options on the table for containing the scheme at the same time as the ACC levy increases were put in the public arena.

It would have been good to have the support for the bill lined up at the same time "but it just wasn't possible to align all that on one given day".

He said the fact that the bill did not yet have the numbers was the result of running a minority Government.

With the deal done, the bill could be introduced this week - although Parliament is set to go into urgency tomorrow morning to pass seven law and order bills.

ACC is one of several issues that have attracted criticism of the Government's political management lately. Others have included rushed hearings of legislation to amend the emissions trading scheme and the unco-ordinated response to the Rugby World Cup free-to-air television rights bids.

Mr Key has openly acknowledged that his ministers in the Rugby World Cup debacle had to take some responsibility. But in that case there were at least six of them involved - Bill English, Gerry Brownlee, Murray McCully, Georgina te Heuheu, Jonathan Coleman, Pita Sharples - and he has never singled anyone out.

Responding to confirmation by ACC chairman John Judge that the board was looking at a $50 to $100 excess charge, Mr Key said the board had had "very preliminary" discussions with Dr Smith.

"But they don't form part of our current reform plan and I am not sure that they ever will."

- NZ Herald

Your views

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 19 Dec 2014 13:54:47 Processing Time: 1627ms