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Maori and Blue Collar workers disadvantaged by ACC

Press Release: 14 March 2008

Maori and Blue Collar workers disadvantaged by ACC Scheme

Maori make up 15% of those who suffer an injury and go onto weekly compensation (being in keeping with population percentage) but only 9% of Maori make up the long-term weekly compensation claimants (disproportionate). Is it that Maori rehabilitate faster than other ethnic groups? If so, what is the secret, or is it ACC find this group easier to exit from the scheme?

Statistics are from ACC website "Injury Statistics 2006" (scroll to bottom of the page for the graph showing percentages).
New Weekly Compensation (by ethnicity)
Long-term Weekly Compensation (by ethnicity)

Analysis of the statistics on ACC’s website will show a similar trend for "blue collar" workers v "white collar" workers. Our experience is head injury claimants are even further disadvantaged. Our conclusion is the ACC system benefits white "white collar" workers the most because this group is more likely to access their entitlements over and above other groups who effectively subsidise the scheme.

A trend we see is many Maori/Blue Collar claimants lacking in computer skills and clerical experience are being exited from the scheme because ACC have determined they can work 35 hours a week as a "Stock Clerk". There must be thousands of injured claimants receiving a Work and Income benefit because of this.

Even if claimants are aware of what they may be entitled to, or are unhappy with a decision about their claim, how many use the processes available to them to get their rightful entitlements?

We urge ACC and the political parties to adopt a policy for ACC to make funding available so claimant’s can exercise their right (under Clause 7 of Schedule 1 of the IPRCA 2001) to access representation during the planning stage of the claimant’s rehabilitation.


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