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ACC's $850+ Million Surplus Bewildering

Thu, 12 Aug 2004

ACC's $850+ Million Surplus Bewildering

ACC claimants are shaking their heads with disbelief over ACC's CEO Garry Wilson's news earlier this week that ACC's full-year surplus is expected to exceed $850 million.

"ACC as a state-owned monopoly provider of compensation for personal injury should not be running at a profit at the expense of injured people. It is accepted that ACC must fund current and future liabilities, however, its business activities have the hallmarks of a clandestine tax gatherer for the Government" Acclaim groups spokesperson Murray Jorgensen said yesterday.

In particular, there seems to be an underlying agenda that places a priority on getting people off income-related compensation and onto a WINZ benefit as soon as possible, but without ensuring that rehabilitation is adequate or complete.

In 1994 Judge Peter Trapski was commissioned to report on the then current practices of ACC. His recommendations have been largely ignored and matters have continued to worsen. Acclaim support groups are reiterating their request for a select committee inquiry into ACC's claims management practices which was also recently supported by the NZ Law Society ACC Committee.

The scheme is simply not working as the social contract with New Zealanders it was first designed to be. Originally ACC was a pay-as-you-go scheme but this was changed by subsequent Governments to a fully funded scheme. This means that ACC must now run at a profit.

Mr Jorgensen states "This surplus puts ACC in the same ballpark as Telecom and yet people are still not getting their rightful entitlements. Rehabilitation for the most part falls woefully short of legitimate expectations and in most instances is a joke, amply illustrated by ACC's recently publicised nasal irrigation 'rehabilitation intervention'."

ENDS

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