Thursday, August 7, 2008

ACC staff spending on day spas and petcare

In the wake of the Accident Compensation Corporation failing to look after the British Scientist who lost all her limbs at a work place accident in New Zealand last year and the Labour Government that passed legislation earlier on this decade to limit maximum payouts under ACC to NZ$100,000.00, come revelations today of extreme wasteful spending by the beleaguered, inefficient and expensive public "insurance" government department.

In Parliament today Pansy Wong asked a series of questions and they were answered by the Minister for ACC, well known for condoning overspending by government departments:

Pansy Wong: How does giving staff $250 each per year to spend through the activa card on activities like manicures and day spas promote a more active lifestyle and keep staff fit and well for work?

Hon MARYAN STREET: I presume it is a case of the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) practising what it preaches, in that it is trying to prevent injury. I commend it for that. It is in fact an operational matter that is under the jurisdiction of the chief executive officer. But I suppose it is good to hear the National Party spokeswoman on accident compensation actually saying something about the portfolio at least once every 6 months, given that she was not able to—or not allowed to—say anything about National’s policy when it was released.

Manicures and day spas part of "preventing injury"? I think not.

Pansy Wong: Does the Minister believe that the active and healthy lifestyle of ACC staff is promoted by spending $250 for each person per year on animal care, including pet grooming?

Hon MARYAN STREET: I have no idea what that has to do with the health and safety of ACC staff, but I am happy to look into that for the member.

What part of an employers responsibility is it to look after employees pets?

Pansy Wong: Can the Minister assure the House that ACC staff are not spending $750,000 worth of taxpayers’ money on Botox, facelifts, and other cosmetic treatments that are services provided for through the activa cards, or does she think that this is an acceptable use of ACC funds?

Hon MARYAN STREET: In respect of the first part of the question, I think I can assure the House of that. But I will check that with the chair of the board, given the member’s obvious concern about the expenditure of ACC money.

If this is a fact then it is a scandal.

Nothing on TV news this evening or in the newspapers.

This sort of corrupt practice, the spending of taxpayer money on things that individuals should be paying for themselves, in the face of a recession and high taxes, is a very good reason why this government department should be subject to competition at the very least.

Personally I think it should be sold.

The bleating from the left about the ACC being fair, efficient and a wonderful State apparatus is clearly quite wrong in the face of the above and more the public dont know about.

The Minister clearly has little trouble with wasteful spending machinations at ACC because it is a State department and it is taxpayer money they are wasting and that clearly doesn't matter when it comes to this Minister and the Labour Party.

Related Links

Full transcript of Pansy Wong's question

c Political Animal 2008

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