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.