Letter: State-owned insurance

I enjoyed the editorial (November 5) discussing the Cunliffe plan to start a state-owned insurance company.

I believe NZ First may have pipped Labour at the post having announced the same policy two weeks ago.

This is not some half-baked plan designed to bring down the entire insurance industry.

This has been done before. State Insurance was government-owned before it was privatised.

State was brought into existence to compete with foreign insurance companies after the Napier earthquake. At the time the government was concerned that insurance companies were apparently colluding to over-charge and refusing to offer cover to Napier residents.

I am aware insurance companies and neo liberal (free market) politicians will be against the Cunliffe and Peters plan.

I am not surprised.

But at times like the horror that has befallen Christchurch, it's good to see someone step up to the challenge.

I would imagine they see it as the social and economic responsibility of government. After all, are our representatives elected to help our citizens or support overseas multinationals?

As Robert Muldoon put it ''Economics is not money, or wealth or resources, but people; their hopes, their fears, their reactions to stimuli or to adversity. Understand the people of a country and you are a long way along the road to understand what is needed by way of economic policy''.

As for whether the proposed company will make a profit or be a burden on the taxpayer, anyone who has purchased insurance after the Christchurch quake should be able to answer that question.

It would appear foreign ownership and taking profit out of New Zealand is what Government sees as in our best interest.

Ryal Bush

The Southland Times