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Prevention, Rehabilitation And Compensation

Prevention, Rehabilitation And Compensation – In That Order

New accident compensation legislation, introduced to the House today, promotes prevention rather than cure.

Accident Insurance Minister Dr Michael Cullen says the Injury Prevention & Rehabilitation Bill takes a much broader view on accident compensation than any previous legislation.

"In a sense we have returned to the original principles of committed injury prevention, effective and timely rehabilitation and fair compensation that Sir Owen Woodhouse prescribed over 25 years ago but successive governments had failed to get right."

Dr Cullen said the new government came into office with a firm commitment to reforming New Zealand’s accident compensation system.

"We have taken a two-part approach to this reform. The first objective was to remove competition in workplace insurance and the Government introduced legislation to do that in December 1999.

"The second part of our strategy is reflected in this Bill. It has four key objectives: to minimise the incidence of injuries – at work, at home and at play and on our roads; to ensure that injured people have access to early and effective rehabilitation; to make sure that the compensation paid to injured New Zealanders is fair; and to minimise the costs of injury to the community as a whole.

"The Bill, which returns lump sum entitlements to people who suffer non-economic loss for permanent impairment and introduces a Code of Claimant Rights, is expected to become law about this time next year, " said Dr Cullen.
The Bill will not impact on the new lower ACC levies announced this week and set to come into force next April. "I have an absolute assurance that the new rates can be, at worst, maintained into the future and hopefully further reduced next year," said Dr Cullen.


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