Saturday, April 12, 2008

Compulsory third party insurance nonsense

So Stuff reports that Associate Transport Minister Harry Duynhoven has finally decided to completely ignore all official advice, and institute compulsory third party insurance for motorists.
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Oops not that the report says he ignored official advice, but go on - make an Official Information Act request on the matter- you'll find numerous papers written on this saying what a dumb idea it is, politely.
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Now, I'll hear you say, what about that bastard who ran into my car and wasn't insured? Well what about him? Were you insured? Did you insurance company provide cover against the uninsured as many do? If not, then well you took the risk didn't you? Besides, do you think making it compulsory makes it universal? All compulsion will do is add to the penalties for those who don't wish to be insured, and a few more will become insured - after all, if the threat of being sued by someone else's insurance company isn't enough of a threat, a fine wont do more.
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Ah but it exists in other countries. Um, no you're not quite right there. Compulsory Third Party Insurance in other countries is typically about personal injury cover, not property cover. In New Zealand this is irrelevant since there already is compulsory third party injury cover, which you pay at the same rate regardless of your driving record - ACC does that for you, it's a monopoly that treats the driver with the clean record the same as the recividist drunk driver - but that's the state for you - it's equality after all!
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The claims made about this nonsense policy have little evidence to back them up. Duynhoven's claims about the effects of compulsory third party insurance overseas are such rubbish, because the premiums are about INJURY cover. The INJURY cover premiums vary according to driving records in Europe, but they don't in New Zealand, because New Zealand is the only country with nationalised no-fault socialised injury insurance (which means you can be accident free or be a serial killer by accident, and your premiums don't change).
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Certain parts of the country, such as East Cape, the far North and the Chatham Islands have low levels of Warrant of Fitness, Motor Vehicle Registration and Drivers Licence compliance, and many don't have insurance. This will just be added to the list. The excuse that it will address "bad driving" raises the question - why aren't dangerous drivers simply denied licences for longer, or face imprisonment for dangerous driving causing death? In other words - is this just another sound bite for election year which, when you look at the evidence, isn't worth it?
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but will National oppose it? It COULD suggest an alternative - open up the ACC motor vehicle account to competition, so good drivers could choose a private insurer who rewards good behaviour. That MIGHT make a difference, but that would weaken the holy grail of ACC socialism - no fault, no blame, everybody pay the same.

2 comments:

john-ston said...

"but will National oppose it? It COULD suggest an alternative - open up the ACC motor vehicle account to competition, so good drivers could choose a private insurer who rewards good behaviour. That MIGHT make a difference, but that would weaken the holy grail of ACC socialism - no fault, no blame, everybody pay the same."

And how would you ensure that National would not get hammered in the polls? Labour would use such a suggestion as an opportunity to say; see, they want to privatise ACC and rant on about the 1990s again; of course people in New Zealand are still nervous about a repeat of what happened during that decade.

By the way, I don't disagree with the idea, it is just that it would lead to the destruction of National in the polls.

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