National set to deny more comprehensive ACC
Hon Maryan Street
Minister for ACC
17 June, 2008 Media Statement
National set to deny more comprehensive ACC for injured New Zealanders
National appears set to oppose a Bill entitling employees who develop a mental injury after being exposed to a sudden traumatic event during the course of their work to accident compensation, says ACC Minister Maryan Street.
“The change is one of a number included in the Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment Bill (No.2), which continues the Labour-led government’s commitment to a comprehensive, publicly-owned ACC scheme.”
The Bill is set to have its second reading in Parliament later today and was opposed by National during its first reading, Maryan Street said.
“Following the select committee submission process however, I had thought those National MPs who sat and listened to submissions on the Bill would have convinced their colleagues a change of mind was required.
“The heart-rending submission from Trentham train driver Terry Bristowe, who was unable to continue work after his train ran over people on railway tracks twice in three years, in particular spelt out why this provision in the Bill is important. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome, but was not entitled to ACC,” Maryan Street said.
“Yet in the select committee report National failed to acknowledge the trauma such individuals experience, complaining only about the additional costs and clearly indicating it would once again oppose it the Bill.
“The adoption of such a heartless stance should send a message to New Zealanders of what National would do to ACC,” Maryan Street said.
“Tonight I am launching the book Blood on the Coal by Hazel Armstrong, which details the history of accident compensation in New Zealand and why the current world-leading, state-run ACC scheme was established.
“The book is a timely reminder of what would be put at risk if National privatises the scheme. National consistently refuses to detail its ACC policy because it knows New Zealanders will realise their ACC entitlements will be eroded.
“Alarm bells should ring if National follows through and opposes the second reading tonight,” said Maryan Street.