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ACC Claimant Suicides

Joint Press Release by:
Acclaim Canterbury Inc. and Acclaim Otago Inc.

ACC Claimant Suicides

Suicides brought about by ACC's adverse attitudes and culture, an eagerness to decline and deny entitlements to rehabilitation and weekly compensation, inconsistency in decision-making, doctors and vocational assessors writing biased reports and being corrupted and manipulated by ACC contracts, a corrupt complaints investigation system and wide-spread cover-up's - these are just some of the allegations which strike at the heart of New Zealander's confidence in their Accident Compensation scheme and raise questions about ACC's procedures and culture.

The questions surrounding the allegations go on and on, but the swirling stories surrounding them could be crystallised into five key areas of concern.

The first is the adequacy of ACC investigations into complaints particularly those involving their own.

The second was whether adverse attitudes and cultures that prevailed at ACC in the late 80's and early 90's, first identified in the 1994 report from an Inquiry Into ACC by former Chief District Court judge Peter Trapski, still prevail.

The third is to what extent the culture of loyalty, pack mentality, solidarity and the financial reward system inhibits the proper investigation of complaints, alleged misconduct and failure to comply with the law.

The fourth was accountability and the relationship between ACC, its Minister, the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister. To what extent is the financial relationship inhibiting comprehensive rehabilitation? For example, before issuing policy, which ACC must comply with, the ACC Minister must consult with the Minister of Finance over ACC's so-far $4 billion in investments.

The fifth is the role and adequacy of Dispute Resolution Services Limited (DRSL) - a wholly owned ACC subsidiary of ACC - and its reviewers who are supposed to independently review ACC's adverse decisions and in doing so, adopt an investigative approach and exercise due diligence in decision-making. Disputes Resolution Services Limited's decisions have become in the nature of a lottery for claimants and their counsels to the extent that this is putting pressure on the court system.


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