Howard’s End: ACC Investments Open to Scamsters
By Maree Howard
The ACC is once again in the public spotlight following revelations that it plans to increase its NZ and overseas investments from the current $3.8 billion to $5.4 billion by 2005 while at the same time increasing petrol levies for motorists and claimants are going without proper rehabilitation. Maree Howard writes.
While consumer watchdogs and the police warn of overseas scams designed to syphon money from the pockets of unsuspected New Zealanders, ACC claimant support groups - and they are growing in numbers every day - are saying that a scam of monumental proportions is being commited against New Zealanders and authorities simply don't want to know.
According to its own Acccountability Documents the ACC is forecasting that its NZ and overseas investments will increase to $4 billion in year-ended 2003, to $4.7 billion in 2004 and $5.4 billion in 2005.
In round figures for the year ended June 2005 the ACC plans to have invested:
* NZ Deposits on call $310 million
* NZ Government securities $1.568 billion
* NZ Equities $ 761 million
* Australian Equities $ 369 million
* NZ Discounted Securities $ 670 million
* Other NZ Fixed Interest Securities $ 899 million
* Overseas Fixed Interest Securities $ 302 million
* Other Overseas Equities $ 556 million
Total investments $5,439,151,000
Which sort of begs the question - What the hell is going on?
There is an agreement signed between the Minister and the ACC for a net reduction of 1500 long term claimants for the year ended June 2003 which ACC calls its "stock" The agreement was signed as recently as 30 June last year. Whether it is legal is still to be tested in the Courts.
Meanwhile expect great fuel costs later this year due to ACC's greed.
So, is the ACC a social contract between New Zealanders who have been injured, or is it now a social bank for the Government, the money markets and the financial houses?
The answer, it seems, has already been provided in Court cases:
In one case in 2001 the District Court expressed its concerns in relation to comments made by an ACC spokesperson and reported in the NZ Herald on 11 December 2000. In the article the ACC spokesperson was reported saying:
"I don't think anyone is arguing that there should have been 30,000 people on ACC long term. ACC covers people for injury and there is no way we should expect that someone who hurt their back or their neck 10 years ago should end up on ACC forever. That's just crazy."
The judge said:
" I am concerned that the comments made by the spokesperson appear to depart from the concept which prompted the introduction of the ACC regime. While I accept that rehabilitation of injured persons is a paramount priority, the desire to remove long term claimants simply because they are long term is wrong. The contract betwen the Government and the peope of New Zealand on the introduction of ACC was that the people would lose their right to sue for personal injury in exchange for prompt ACC entitlements."
Later the Court said:
The injustice which I perceive..........(is) the result that the claimant is forced to seek a benefit from another government agency. I consider the proposition goes against the whole philosophy which prompted the introduction of the ACC regime."
Scoop can point to cases where ACC is blatantly breaking the law, misinforming claimants or not providing timely information at all.
In another Court case the judge considered that an action for damages based on misfeasance may have been warranted given the Corporation's blatant disregard of the law and its misinformation to the appellants on the level of attendant care to which they were entitled.
In another case the ACC was accused of paying only lip service to rehabilitation.
And in another, the Court was perturbed with ACC's assertions that specialists who had never even visited the work place and had no training in occupational medicine or workplace biomechanics was the appropriate persons to report on conditions.
And in still another case the Court was concerned with the total lack of evidence presented and in yet another, the Court found the investigative procedures of ACC were totally deficient and that the appellant's claim had not been given fair consideration. The Court said that expert evidence must be obtained.
Which all adds up to an organisation which is out of control and doesn't seem to give a stuff about anybody or anything but its own self-interested $5.4 billion investments of public funds.
Could it be fraud? - the six elements to prove that seem to exist and the Serious Fraud Office might just be interested - or could it be corruption?, (rotten, depraved, wicked) or is it simply greed and self-interest? Or none of the above?
because you're paying!