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National deaf to hearing loss concerns

Chris Hipkins
ACC spokesperson
11 August 2011

National deaf to hearing loss concerns

It’s outrageous that the National government have used their majority on a parliamentary select committee to prevent the voice of nearly 6,000 New Zealanders from being heard, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“At this morning’s Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee meeting National members voted en-bloc to report back the petition of Louse Carroll and 5857 others to the House without hearing a single piece of evidence. That’s undemocratic and a slap in the face to all those who sought to have their concerns heard by their House of Representatives,” Chris Hipkins said.

The petition called on Parliament to amend ACC legislation to ensure that any degree of hearing loss comes within the definition of personal injury.

The National government changed the law over 18 months ago to introduce an arbitrary 6% hearing loss threshold that is preventing many people with work-related deafness from getting compensation.

“Having actively discriminated against those with hearing loss, the National government is now turning a deaf ear to their concerns. They aren’t even willing to allow them to come to Parliament and have their say. That’s frankly disgraceful,” Chris Hipkins said.

“People with hearing impairment are the only group of New Zealanders required by law to demonstrate a particular percentage of disability before rehabilitation will be offered under the ACC scheme. Those being discriminated against have a right to be angry about that, and it’s an indictment on this National government that they’re so arrogant they think they can simply turn their backs on them and not even give them a chance to be heard,” Chris Hipkins said.

ENDS

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