Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Dying asbestos victims robbed by stingy Government

10 February 2005

Dying asbestos victims robbed by stingy Government

The Greens are outraged that the Government is challenging a District Court decision that Kiwis dying of asbestos-related diseases are entitled to lump sum payments from ACC.

"Why is the Government being so mean-spirited as to challenge the compensation awarded to New Zealanders so sick from diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis that they find it difficult to breathe?" asked Sue Kedgley, Green Health Spokesperson.

"The Government's appeal to the High Court is obscene. It should drop it immediately and ensure that ACC provides a service for which it was set up - to help those who have been grievously harmed as a consequence of their workplace."

To add injustice to injury, Australian former employees of James Hardie Industries - whose South Auckland asbestos factory was the workplace of those New Zealanders now dying - have been awarded an average of $272,000 in an out-of-court settlement.

Green ACC Spokesperson Sue Bradford said this substantial payment recognised the dire situation of those exposed to asbestos in the workplace and made a mockery of the $68.77-a-week ACC "independence allowance", which is all New Zealand sufferers will be entitled to if the Government's appeal is successful.

"It seems that ACC is baulking at paying out adequate compensation for simple financial reasons. This stingy government is putting ACC's bottom line ahead of the wellbeing of sick Kiwi workers."

Ms Kedgley and Ms Bradford are challenging ACC Minister Ruth Dyson in the House this afternoon to justify her agency's mean-spirited actions.

"The question is, Does ACC really believe the District Court's decision is unfair or are they just trying to avoid having to pay unbudgeted expenses?" asked Ms Kedgley.

The Government's financial statements claim that ACC will be "vigorously defending" itself from the claims of these dying Kiwis. The statements also refer to the potential for "substantial future liability" should ACC lose its High Court appeal.

"We can only infer that these two issues are linked: that ACC is objecting to the claims of these very sick New Zealanders because they're worried about having to pay out in future cases similar to this one," Ms Kedgley said. "It is very concerning that a government agency would put money ahead of both justice and the wellbeing of sick New Zealanders."

Ms Bradford, also the Green Employment Spokesperson, said the implications of the Government's actions were even worse in light of the fact that, if the Government appeal is successful, New Zealand will no longer meet minimum standards required by the International Labour Organisation.

"New Zealand ratified ILO Convention 42 in 1938. It's deeply disappointing that this Government is willing to flout international law and undermine the rights of sick workers just to save a buck."

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

New TPP Agreed: Govt Must Explain How Canada Got Changes

Jane Kelsey: Overnight in Japan the remaining eleven governments have concluded the ‘revised’ but essentially unchanged Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA-11), now called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership. The signing is set for 8 March 2018 in Chile.

University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey predicts ‘the rebranding of the TPPA won’t fool anyone...

Canada has reportedly secured new protections for culture, as well as rules of origin for automobiles, which was not on the list of outstanding items in the TPPA-11 ministerial statement in December last year. More>>

 

Wellington.Scoop: Our Housing Crisis – And The Unintended Consequences

There is no doubt that we are having some huge issues with housing in Wellington. Finding somewhere to live is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive... But why? And what happens next? More>>

ALSO:

Ministerial Inquiry: Broad Look At Mental Health And Addiction Services

The Government has taken a major step towards improving mental health and addiction services with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing details of a ministerial inquiry. More>>

ALSO:

Wealth: Two NZers Own More Than Poorest 30%

A staggering 28 per cent of all wealth created in New Zealand in 2017 went to the richest 1 per cent of Kiwis, while the 1.4 million people who make up the poorest 30 per cent of the population got barely 1 per cent, according to new research released by Oxfam. More>>

ALSO:

Employment: Joint Working Group On Pay Equity Principles Reconvened

Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Iain Lees-Galloway, and Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter, are reconvening the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles as the next step in pay equity for New Zealand women. More>>

ALSO:

Hapū: Prime Minister And Clarke Gayford Expecting First Child

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner, Clarke Gayford, have announced that they are expecting their first child in June. “We’re both really happy. We wanted a family but weren’t sure it would happen for us, which has made this news unexpected but exciting." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: on the inquiry into the abuse of children in care

Apparently, PM Jacinda Ardern has chosen to exclude faith-based institutions from the government’s promised inquiry into the abuse of children in state care. Any role for religious institutions – eg the Catholic Church – would be only to observe and to learn from any revelations that arise from the inquiry’s self-limiting focus on state-run institutions… More >>

Gordon Campbell: On Jim Anderton
For anyone born after 1975, it is hard to grasp just how important a figure Jim Anderton was, for an entire generation.
During the mid to late 1980s, Anderton was the only significant public figure of resistance to the Labour government’s headlong embrace of Thatcherism...More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages