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ACC Claimant Support Groups Concerned By Bill

11 January 2004

ACC Claimant Support Groups Concerned By Bill

ACC claimant support groups nationwide have expressed grave reservations regarding the purpose of the Injury Prevention Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2001 Amendment Bill No. 3, alleging that it is yet another attack on claimants’ rights to fair compensation and genuine rehabilitation.

Following the Health Select Committee hearings of public submissions on the IPR&C Act 2001 Amendment Bill No. 3, Acclaim Canterbury’s youth representative was contacted by Tim Barnett’s Parliamentary Office to arrange a meeting with him, the Minister of ACC Hon. Ruth Dyson and the Acclaim board together with its youth rep over the contentious issue of the Minister’s failure to consult with the children and youth of the country on the Amendment Bill No. 3 as she is required to do pursuant to Section 300 of the Principal Act.

The meeting was to have taken place on Monday 10th January 2005. Acclaim’s representatives had a set of issues to raise with the Minister and Mr. Barnett regarding the Bill. The meeting did not proceed; the Minister declined to meet Acclaim representatives and despite being present in his electorate office at the pre-arranged time, Mr. Barnett appears to have also declined to meet, claiming that Acclaim reps were not his constituents.

One would have to wonder at the motive not to meet and why the reference to the Acclaim representatives not being constituents. Isn’t it is generally understood that MPs must make themselves available to meet electors over a range of areas of genuine concern? Isn’t New Zealand a democracy? Is this the result of the arrogance of unbridled power that Labour MPs now place themselves above the law? Or could it be that the issues have touched a raw nerve and MPs are reluctant to face the truth?

After all, this is an election year!!

ISSUES FOR WHICH THE ACC MINISTER’S RESPONSE IS SOUGHT:

1. IPR&C ACT 2001 AMENDMENT BILL No. 3 Select Committee report to Parliament dated 17th December 2004 – unseemly haste reporting back to the House, perceived as fait accompli.

2. Perception that Parliamentarians have been duped by those proposing the legislative changes (Minister & ACC) put forward in the guise of amendments to the revised medical misadventure provisions of the Bill – the select committee report to the House confirms that view.

3. The Bill is in fact a comprehensive rewrite of the Principal Act that further removes claimants’ access to justice, effectively alienating them as a disenfranchised class of people, more particularly claimants who require rehabilitation for longer than six months.

4. ACC Minister’s failure to adequately consult, if at all – and there is no evidence that she did consult, with the public of NZ as provided by sec 300 of the principal Act – particularly with the children and youth and cultural groups other than Maori and Pacific Islanders, the latter two having direct access to ACC CEO Gary Wilson and the ACC Board.

5. Solicitor-General’s failure to provide sec 7 notification to the House regarding several conflicts with the NZBOR and Human Rights Acts, both in the Principal Act and the Amendment Bill No. 3, e.g. inter alia, sec 117(3) (3B), (3C), sched 1 cl (8) & (9), sec 49 Code of Claimants’ Rights – no right of appeal pursuant to sec 149 (3), no right to refuse medical treatment and/or surgery.

6. Sec117 (3) is a particularly abhorrent amendment clearly designed to pre-empt the Peck decision currently awaiting (7 months) the Court of Appeal decision – another example of judicial pandering to political influence/pressure.

7. Judith Collins, member of the select committee offered to meet with Acclaim submitters regarding fraud allegations raised by us at the hearing – no contact to date.

8. A petition was presented to Parliament by Sue Bradford, Green Party MP, in June 2004; it was referred to the Administration Committee who passed the buck to the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee. Seven months have passed and no word of a Public Inquiry. Will there be a Public Inquiry and if so when??

9. ACC Judiciary – Quality deficit evident in appeal decisions from the District Court, definite perception of establishment bias. Judges making the law rather than interpreting it, e.g. two formerly-respected Judges declining legitimate appeals pursuant to sec 134 (1)(b) – one of the sections the select committee recommends be amended.

10. Fraud and corruption – acts committed by the Corporation on a daily basis against the people of New Zealand on a grand scale previously unknown in the country, misuse of levy payers’ funds – officially sanctioned by the Labour-led government and to such an extent that it could well be the downfall of the government if the public becomes informed.

11. Fraud against individual claimants – Miss XX being falsely accused of fraud to deny entitlements, denial of entitlements amounting to persecution of the YY family, personal causes of action – no vocational rehabilitation. Levy payers funds used for illicit purposes in contravention of statute, complaint laid with the Police Commissioner.

12. A TV documentary in the planning stages that will bring the government, ACC and the persons directly responsible to account for their actions – no holds barred. Failure to air in New Zealand wont matter – it will be streamed on the internet and New Zealand’s Human Rights violations will be brought to the attention of the international community.

ENDS

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