Should ACC's 50th birthday gift be an overhaul?

Author
Jacqui Stanford,
Publish Date
Mon, 11 Dec 2017, 5:17AM
It has been 50 years since a report that paved the way for ACC. (Photo / File)
It has been 50 years since a report that paved the way for ACC. (Photo / File)

Should ACC's 50th birthday gift be an overhaul?

Author
Jacqui Stanford,
Publish Date
Mon, 11 Dec 2017, 5:17AM

It's 50 years since Sir Owen Woodhouse released a report paving the way for our ACC system.

Five decades on, is it time for an overhaul?

Dunedin based researcher and barrister Warren Forster thinks so.

He's been made the 2017 Law Foundation International Research Fellow, to look at how we could alter the ACC scheme so it doesn’t distinguish between sickness and accidents.

Forster said it was in Sir Owen's original vision to avoid discriminating based on cause, but he couldn't get that over the line.

"[Sir Owen] suggested that what we do is that we develop a system for dealing with injuries and then down the track we look at extending it to illness, sickness and disease," Forster said.

He thinks we now have the opportunity to do that - and claims the current ACC system is undoubtedly discriminatory.

"There are studies that have been done, for example, comparing brain injury and stroke - brain injury being covered by ACC, stroke not - and people's experiences and outcomes are worlds apart."

The push for change comes as a Waikato family, hospitalised after eating meat suspected to be contaminated with botulism, has been told ACC will not provide cover for their treatment.

A family spokesman said ACC's cited a section of legislation saying the ingestion of bacteria is not considered an accident unless it is the result of a criminal act.