Case for wider probe of ACC entitlement-cutting culture now even stronger

A couple of weeks back I responded to ACC’s u-turn on handling sensitive claims by calling for a wider and urgent review of all the changes to entitlements and assessment procedures in order to save money, with a view to identify other categories of people who are being revictimised by the changes. So far there has been no response from Minister Smith.

Sunday’s revelations in the Sunday Star-Times about the role played by Felicity Goodyear-Smith are further cause for this investigation: we simply have to know whether ACC has been colonised by a sick culture, totally at odds with the Woodhouse principles and the intent of the scheme.

ACC both commissioned Dr Goodyear-Smith to provide advice on a number of occasions and then, according to the Sunday Star-Times, attempted to cover this up.

Dr Goodyear-Smith’s history of association with the Centrepoint “community” and extremely controversial views about sexual abuse are well-known.

It seems, then, that her engagement by ACC can only have occurred through some catastrophic failure of process and judgment or through a deliberate set of actions intended to reduce support for sensitive claimants.

New Zealanders need to know which of these it is and to be confident that this kind of disaster cannot recur. It’s time for Nick Smith to launch the urgent investigation that I have called for.

11 thoughts on “Case for wider probe of ACC entitlement-cutting culture now even stronger

  1. Nick Smith is probably ferriting away to see if he can find some ‘other work’ for goodyear-smith. Because, sure she might be controversial, but by jingo’s she saved the minister a lot of money ……..

    Perhaps she could go into private practise with that other doctor interested in sexual abuse ………. Dr Fahey.

    They both strike me as National voters .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2 (+4)

  2. I wish I wasn’t a part of this ACC fiasco, but unfortunately I am. Right in the middle unfortunately. Thank you for your efforts in this regard. It is both comforting and enlightening to have people around knowing how to fight for our cause. The more I find out about ACC and their tactics, the more alarmed I become. ACC is supposed to be the backbone for people – these are criminal acts we are talking about. And ACC is continuing extending the crime. The Goodyear-Smith article, although its content not all new to me, showed the appauling state ‘we’ are currently in. Thanks for your interest in this. Nick Smith should be held personally responsible. He seems to cope well considering I don’t believe he can sleep at night. Robyn

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4 (+4)

  3. It is interesting that under a National there appears to be an active seeking out of expert advice from those who will support the Government policies and an avoidence of impartial advisors with credibility within the respective sectors. The continual practice of following ideology before evidence is becoming a huge worry when the credentials of the “experts” become spotlighted and real intentions are revealed. No wonder rape victims were sidelined….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 5 (+7)

  4. Thank you for your blog post here Kevin. It seems both Labour and National have been avoiding challenging Goodyear-Smiths involvement with ACC despite them both knowing for a good period of time about this research.

    It is evident of the SICK culture that exists within ACC itself and the POWER held by a handful of doctors within this country. Although it appears ACC are now blaming the Auckland Medical School as they commissioned the School and not Goodyear-Smith directly. Of course, it is unbelieveable that either ACC or the Medical School would allow her to research in this area. Surely they must of seen a conflict of interest here unless they too agree with her ideologies?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1 (+5)

  5. Its not so much rape victims that are being sidelined now especially with the introduction of the 16 hours support but rather early childhood sexual abuse survivors who have been refused support since last October because ACC cites other serious psychological factors other than the abuse to account for the clients presentation at therapy.
    FGS’s whole argument is that adult – child sex is not always harmful and can be seen as a normal part of a childs development.
    As a direct result of her opinions, this very group that has to jump through hoops, disclose to multiple ACC ‘clinicians’, suffer the stigma of a mental illness and work to a SMART Plan (Specific, Measurable, Attainable,Realistic and Timely)which sets out goals. This is very difficult for individuals whose abuse began when they were pre-verbal or very young as there just are not the words to describe how one is feeling let alone make goals. This all takes considerable time as the survivor and therapist develop a trusting bond. This group of people are very expensive for ACC at face value however ACCs and the governments lack of insight into the long term cost on society is negligent as we know this group have lower education, higher unemployment, struggle more with parenting and managing relationships and boundaries and are more likely to have had contact with CYFs, Justice system etc…In other words we have a lot of half functioning people trying to make their way around the country that we could be helping and should be helping.
    I have been gobsmacked by the lack of political and press coverage since this this story broke so thanks Kevin for giving the time and space it deserves. I hope there will be some questions in parliament about it next week. Lets not forget the 2200 people who hhave had their claims turned down also who are no not allowed to apply for the 16 hours a new claimanit is automatically provided.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2 (+7)

  6. FINALLY! Someone in the beehive with more than wax between their ears! Smith knows ALL about FGS. He was just hoping those “pesty people” would not reveal it to the mainstream media and now, to the public.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1 (+7)

  7. You want to know where ACC Money goes?

    ACC Minister Nick Smith – annual salary $240,000 – got taxpayers to foot a $600 bill to have a waitress attend a dinner party in Wellington.

    The dinner for members of ACC’s board was held at Smith’s ministerial home. The bill from Rough Edges Catering, issued to Smith and his wife, detailed “private catering” – a three-course dinner served up by a waitress who worked a four-hour shift.

    The $607.50 bill – which covered nine people – was split between ACC and Smith’s ministerial office.

    Smith defended the expenditure, saying that while he was capable of cooking, his time was better used conversing with ACC’s board.

    He personally paid for the wine consumed during the dinner party.

    Details of the dinner were contained in a bundle of credit card statements from ACC’s chief executive, Dr Jan White.

    In the 24-month period ending in June, White racked up $33,646 on the corporation’s plastic, with thousands going on dinners at top Wellington and Auckland restaurants including Logan Brown, Capitol, Vivo Wine Bar, The Yacht Club and One Tree Grill.

    Revelations of big spending within the corporation’s top-floor office come at a time Smith himself has said spending at the agency is out of control.

    When told about some of White’s biggest restaurant bills, he reiterated that he expected restraint to be exercised.

    ACC issued a statement defending the dinners, saying the corporation has a policy of recognising good workers.

    Spokesman Laurie Edwards said ACC was “extremely conscious of delivering value for money” and “that is why in the last year we have managed to cut $35 million from our administration budget”.

    In December last year, White spent $13,553 on four dinners, in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin. Her reconciliation form said the meals were to acknowledge “achievers” within ACC.

    Dinners for staff leaving included a farewell for Gerard McGrevy at Vivo Wine Bar (costing $756), for Graeme Osbourne at Zibibbo Restaurant ($790) and for Ian Simpson in March at Logan Brown ($1095).

    ACC did not disclose the quantity of alcohol consumed at each meal and the corporation did not respond when asked for them.

    Not all of White’s dining experiences came at a high cost to taxpayers – in March last year she spent just $12.50 at Central Otago’s Tin Goose cafe.

    PS: ACC spent $3.1 million (in one year) on staff travel expenses. The research money paid to Massey University for the “initial” Clinical Pathways was $600k, and additional a$600k recently spent on researching into whether Maori needs are being served – there is yet to be a Maori health system in ACC but what the heck, it’s only money!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 (+2)

  8. The Police investigation into Centrepoint and the subsequent prosecutions also need to be investigated. Not only is it clear from the Massey research that the investigation was inadequate, but the officer-in-charge has been outed as having his own issues as well. The children of Centrepoint deserve better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 (+8)

  9. Finally,someone is beginning to ask those questions which sorely need answers.
    How is it that this woman has been in a position where she can wreak such havoc with the lives of those most damaged,those among the weakest in our society?
    With her dubious background why was she ever allowed to have anything whatever,however slight,to do with sexual abuse survivors?
    And did those who put her in such a position know of her background?
    Why,with such distasteful views is this woman still practising medicine in any capacity,why has she not been struck off?

    And why is the media,with the exception of the Tim Hume story,so very silent about it all?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 (+8)

  10. I agree totally with Katherine. Also we forget that it wasn’t illegal for woman to have sex with children back then…. only for men. So many woman who had sex with children were never charged. Neither were all the doctors struck off the medical register for having sex with their patients or children.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 (+8)

  11. Yay!!! Good luck Kevin in getting some answers??? My goodness was a shambles. You have to wonder why they have FGS involved at all? Did they think silencing Survivors of Sexual abuse to be that easy? Did they really think that they’d get away with it. I reckon there is much more to this than just FGS and I hope a thorough investigation is done so that all can be exposed. I really am starting to wonder who can be trusted to really clear the swamp out…. lol!!! We are definately not the swamp dwellers cause we not longer have to hide and be silent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

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