Government must act to fix ACC rot

The Green Party is calling on the Government to permanently ditch its plans for an ACC appeals tribunal and act immediately to ensure ACC has fairer and more just processes.

The call comes after the release of research by the University of Otago Legal Issues Centre and  Acclaim Otago which highlights ''widespread and systemic barriers to access to justice'' when it comes to ACC.

“The Government is doing nowhere near enough to address New Zealanders’ legitimate concerns about the way ACC conducts its business,” said Green Party ACC spokesperson Kevin Hague.

“Nikki Kaye and Amy Adams should permanently scrap their half-baked plan to ditch the district court and form a new ACC disputes tribunal – putting it on hold is just slowing the reform process down.

“Creating a new tribunal isn’t going to fix the fundamental flaws in the way ACC operates and, in fact, it’s likely to exacerbate the problems.

“The Government needs to go back to the drawing board with ACC and address the structural rot that permeates the way the organisation handles its decision-making and appeals processes.  

“This report reveals real and significant issues, and is extremely concerning to those of us of who have campaigned for better ACC processes.

“Some of the issues raised by the report are fundamental to any fair and just legal hearing, including claimants not having full access to evidence pertaining to their cases and not having access to a competent lawyer.

“This is completely shameful that this is happening at all, let alone to some of our most vulnerable people.

“ACC’s decisions can make or break vulnerable people’s lives, and it’s morally wrong that those people don’t have fair and equitable access to justice when dealing with ACC.

“These people are relying on the Government to provide checks and balances over ACC, and at the moment the Government is letting them down,” said Mr Hague.