14 Nov 2010

United Future wants ACC to cover healthcare

7:53 am on 14 November 2010

The United Future Party wants the accident compensation system expanded over time to cover healthcare.

The party's leader and sole MP, Peter Dunne, told United Future's annual meeting in Wellington on Saturday that New Zealand needs to adopt the sort of national health insurance schemes used in other countries.

He says ACC could be used as the basis for introducing such a scheme.

"What we're talking about," he said, "is looking [at] how over a long period of time - because it's not going to happen immediately - you can broaden the base of ACC to cover a range of other issues as well, and ensure that New Zealanders get access to quality healthcare in a timely and efficient way."

Mr Dunne says the party is also pushing for tax rebates on private health insurance for those aged 65 and over.

City rail proposals supported

Earlier, Mr Dunne put his support behind proposals to expand the rapid-rail network in Auckland and build a light-rail link to the airport in Wellington, saying the National-led government should not automatically rule out the proposals just because they will cost a lot of money.

He told the meeting that if there's public support for the proposals in both cities it's not up to the Government to say no.

He said both could be built using public/private partnerships, rather than simply relying on taxpayers and ratepayers to fund the whole cost.

Backing for 1080 ban

The United Future leader also promised his party would push for a total ban on the use of the controversial poison 1080.

He said the use of the poison in the bush is killing a wide range of animals, not just possums, and is polluting streams and rivers.

Mr Dunne said the party would encourage other forms of pest control, including the greater use of traps, and support more scientific research to that end.

Greens and Labour 'toxic mix'

Mr Dunne also criticised the Labour Party's approach to MMP politics and its relationship with the Green Party.

He says he is concerned about a statement Labour leader Phil Goff made recently that Labour would only work with parties which agreed with it, saying MMP doesn't work that way.

Mr Dunne said Labour and the Greens are beginning to look like an informal coalition in Opposition, but he said it is a toxic mix and would be unlikely to last long in Government.