The National Government admitted last week that it will not be taking any responsibility for KiwiSaver funds that invest in cluster bomb, landmine, and nuclear weapons manufacturers. New Zealanders care deeply about whether or not their money is being used to do harm elsewhere. It’s time the Government did too.
I spoke about the need for action on sexual violence in my maiden speech; not just endless talkfests. I hope by now everyone in this country is aware of the seriousness of our collective problem with sexual violence. It is an epidemic, part of an epidemic of violence against women and children. In the first […]
Treasury papers released under the Official Information Act show that it is providing advice on short-term measures the Government can employ to help it post a surplus this year. The advice includes possible savings from delaying the rebuild of Canterbury; delaying foreign aid expenditure; holding back ACC savings; and new taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and […]
Isaac Davidson from the Herald ran another great story today on the support services for victims of sexual abuse and ACC plans to improve coverage. The new model will be “an expanded, more flexible service which took into account the sensitivity, length of time and cost of treating rape-related trauma based on the 2010 review […]
International Public Service Day fell on our weekend – this is a time to appreciate the work done by millions of workers throughout the world who provide public services to their communities. In New Zealand we need to think about the workers who are paid out of budgets provided by our taxes and the services […]
I’ve done a day of media interviews about the revelation that the crucial meeting last December between two senior ACC managers, claimant Bronwyn Pullar and her support person Michelle Boag was recorded. Several journalists have now heard the tape of the meeting and/or read a transcript, and have been reporting today that the tape does […]
As you scan this list, please reflect on the fact that every one of these reminds me of issues other claimants have brought to me, and are endorsed by claimant organisations, lawyers and service providers who deal with ACC on a regular basis. And ask yourself if it is okay for this catalogue of issues […]
There’s nothing quite like a ministerial resignation to send political insiders and journalists into a frenzy. There are big issues arising from Nick Smith’s interference in Bronwyn Pullar’s ACC claim. Such as: Are the four letters that Nick Smith wrote concerning Ms Pullar’s claim the extent of his interference in her claim, or is there […]
Last week David Hayward blogged about his own experience dealing with his insurance company over the fate of his Christchurch home: Tower Insurance maintain that the house is not a write-off. They maintain that they are only obliged to repair the house — not to honour our insurance policy for total replacement. They say that […]
Last week, Green ACC spokesperson Kevin Hague and Pasifika lawyer Amelia Saafi were interviewed on Pacific Viewpoint, a programme broadcast on Triangle/Stratos. The interview is 27 minutes long, but it’s well worth a watch to see Kevin and Amelia expose the Government’s economy with the truth in manufacturing a “crisis” in ACC in order to […]
Medical practitioner and right wing blogger MacDoctor has three recent posts on the disastrous failings of ACC to provide entitlements to injured claimants. I couldn’t agree more with MacDoctor’s definition of the problem. But I disagree vehemently with his faux solution of privatisation.
The NZ Herald today reports on orthopaedic surgeon Brian Otto who featured in an ACC appeal judgment from the District Court recently: Liangfang Lu, 48, was awarded about $5000 after Auckland District Court Judge Martin Beattie found ACC wrongly suspended payments to him on the basis that his back pain was caused by degeneration.
There are quite a number of nasty legislative and regulatory provisions coming into force today. Among them are Nick Smith’s Experience Rating Regulations for ACC. Experience rating will result in an individual employer’s ACC levies being adjusted up or down on the basis of their work injury record. The idea is supposedly that individual employers […]
Financial Review of ACC today, so I subbed in for Gareth on the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee. Usual thing – we and Labour make the running and when things get too hot the Government members take a turn with patsy questions. ACC fronted with Chair, John Judge, by videoconference and CEO Jan White […]
I’ve run the “ACC: undermine, cut privatise” banner on a few posts on ACC over the last couple of years, and now we’re seeing the third leg of the trifecta emerging with the announcement yesterday that ACC’s work account is to be partially privatised. This may be good news for some employers, because in the […]
Four years ago the District Court decided that ACC claimants who were not earners at the time of their original injury, but who later became incapacitated from subsequent employment due to that injury, were not entitled to weekly compensation. Irrespective of the legal technicalities, it was an anomalous decision for a compensation scheme that is […]
I’m pleased Simon Collins at the NZ Herald has picked up on my blog post last month in which I released figures showing the number of people being moved off ACC weekly compensation onto welfare benefits increased to 1956 people in the latest June year from 764 two years earlier. Collins also highlights some other […]
As an MP I receive many lobbying letters. Today one arrived that really caught my attention. It was from the National Foundation for the Deaf, and it was about the cutbacks to ACC cover and entitlements for work-related hearing loss. Attached to the letter was a very detailed 82 page position paper. The paper describes […]
A couple of months ago, following ACC Minister Nick Smith’s u-turn on counselling for ACC sexual abuse claimants, I called for an independent review of the wide-ranging cutbacks to ACC imposed by the Government. I have now asked some questions about people being moved from ACC to welfare benefits. What really disturbed me about the replies is the huge increase in the number of people being shifted from weekly compensation onto welfare benefits since March 2009.
On Friday, the Government released consultation papers on levy increases and experience ratings for ACC. They are calling for submissions by 29 October. Let them know what you think! Reading between the lines, the papers also make clear that there is no financial crisis in ACC. As we have pointed out all along, ACC is […]
Someone dropped a pen from ACC near my lilypad yesterday. Could it have been Dr Felicity Goodyear-Smith, who advised ACC to require a diagnosis of mental illness before sex abuse survivors could get counselling paid for by ACC and who thinks sexual abuse counselling is ‘a scam’?
ACC’s use of Dr. Felicity Goodyear-Smith to advise on sexual abuse claims can only have resulted from catastrophic systems failure or a sick culture. New Zealanders need to know which, and Minister Smith must take steps to thoroughly investigate so the problems can be fixed
Remember the financial crisis with ACC? Remember Nick Smith describing ACC as “technically insolvent”, a claim that was rubbished at the time by NZ Herald economics editor Brian Fallow and actuary Jonathan Eriksen? Guess what? ACC is set to make a $2 billion surplus, and that’s before the levy increases and entitlement cuts have any impact, as they are only now beginning to phase in!
Over the weekend, Social Development Minister raised the prospect of an ACC model for sickness and invalid’s benefits. My bet is that Bennett is talking about moving sickness and invalid’s benefits to the insurance model that ACC is increasingly becoming based on, rather than to a model based on the Woodhouse principle of complete rehabilitation that it was founded on.
Cameron (Whaleoil) Slater has been having a bleat about how he has been treated by the private insurer Fidelity Life, which has cut off his income protection insurance. Funny how those on the political right don’t seem to get it – until it affects them personally, that is.
Presumably under pressure from ACT, the Government seems to be unable to resist finding places for wingnuts on the various advisory groups it is setting up. Yesterday it continued this trend by appointing Business Roundtable communications consultant and former ACT Party President Catherine Isaac (formerly Judd) to its Welfare Working Group.
There is a Save ACC rally at Parliament on 16 February to fight back against National’s cutbacks. The good people at the CTU have got these ads running at the Sevens:
Four years ago, Bay of Plenty meatworker Johnny Taewa tragically died of the occupational disease leptospirosis. His widow Cathy has been told she was not only ineligible for a benefit, but won’t be eligible for five years, because the lump sum payment she received from ACC in respect of his death is treated as income.
The biker lobby has managed to get considerable public attention and support for motorcyclists’ grievances over ACC levies, but there is a group of more vulnerable people who cannot march in their thousands on Parliament grounds to defend their ACC access. Many of them cannot email Members of Parliament because it exposes them as possibly […]
If ACC is made to work like an insurance company, then it’s a lot easier to flog bits of it off to insurance companies some time in the future. Levy hikes and entitlement cuts will undermine public confidence in ACC and soften up public opinion for the privatisation agenda.
Crisis! What crisis? ACC’s reserves are now above forecast by $739 million (5.4 percent), a further improvement over last month, said CTU Economist and Policy Director Bill Rosenberg. The main problem is the full funding of future claim payments which means ACC accounts will always be susceptible to large apparent variations which in reality may have little practical consequences for the ACC scheme.
Shunting injured people off ACC onto welfare benefits where they may languish for years rather than rehabilitating them into employment is a false saving – as bad for the economy as it is for the injured person.
Nick Smith doesn’t know the most basic statistical information necessary to determine the likely extent of cost containment or the impact on claimants of going back to the 1999 work capacity policy. What’s more, he’s not even prepared to have ACC do the analysis to find out. What a shambles!
In February this year the Green Party heard a rumour that the review of ACC was being conducted solely by Treasury and Business New Zealand, so on 5 March we decided to put this to Nick Smith in the House.
The Government estimates its cut to ACC cover for hearing loss will save up to $4 million a year. But it is not just that cost that will be borne by employers – there will be the associated costs of investigating and litigating damages claims by employees for low level hearing loss. Employers have a choice – submit in opposition to this now, or lawyer up later.
The deadline for submissions on the Government’s Bill to gut ACC is only three days away. This Bill is designed to prepare ACC for National’s and Act’s ultimate objective – the privatisation of accident compensation to foreign-owned insurance companies that have to make a profit for their foreign shareholders on the backs of New Zealanders’ […]
In all the time I’ve been hopping around Parliament I’ve never heard a statement more extraordinary than this one: The numbers from Treasury are nonsense. Treasury can’t tell us what the deficit is going to be in December let alone what’s happening in 2030 or 2040. Now, I’ll admit to having a go at Treasury […]
Thousands of bikers descended on Parliament today to protest levy the Government’s hike in motorcyclist levies, and their attack on ACC. New Green MP and lifetime biker David Clendon and new Green Party ACC Spokesperson Kevin Hague headed down to support the protest. David gave a great speech where he explained that the Greens […]
The motorbikes are coming, and there are a lot of them! This photo was taken from quite a distance so the perspective makes it look like there are fewer people, but basically the entire of the area outside the beehive is covered in people.
It is not just the caregivers who will suffer from this policy. Injured people who live in isolated areas are likely to find it increasingly difficult to find any caregiver prepared to travel to their home to provide the home help or attendant care they need. But do ACC care? Seems not.