Trigger warning: this mentions traumatic births and birth injuries
Each one of the more than 900 personal stories collected by the Green Party and shared with Minister Sepuloni today make clear why the Government must guarantee coverage of all birth injuries and trauma under proposed changes to ACC.
"Today the Minister will be reading the stories of more than 900 parents who have experienced birth injuries and traumatic births, none of whom would get support under the Government’s proposed legislation," says Jan Logie, Green Party spokesperson for ACC.
In September last year, Jan Logie launched an open letter urging Minister Sepuloni to make changes to ACC so anyone experiencing pain and suffering from a traumatic birth and/or birth injury is covered.
Soon after, the Minister announced that the Government would amend ACC legislation to cover more birth injuries. However, the proposed changes stopped short of covering all birth injuries, coverage for standalone mental trauma, coverage for babies injured during birth, and retrospective support for parents with existing injuries.
The legislation will not apply retrospectively, meaning any parent that has sustained a birth injury before 1 October 2022 will not be eligible for support.
“No one experiencing the pain and trauma of birth injuries should have to suffer on their own. Reading these stories and hearing what people went through without the support of ACC is heart-breaking.
“I heard from parents unable to sit up because of abdominal separation. I heard from parents with PTSD who have been unable to get support. I even heard from people now in their 70s, who, 40 years on from giving birth, are still in pain because they have never been able to receive adequate treatment or support.
“The Green Party is delivering these stories to the Minister today because people in Government making decisions about who should and shouldn’t receive support need to hear them. They need to realise that while the proposed legislation is a step forward, it doesn’t go nearly far enough.
“By covering all birth injuries, and not just a prescriptive list, we can ensure better support for whānau, and we can ensure parents and pēpi are cared for and can heal quickly. This approach is also consistent with a te ao Māori point of view, given that wāhine Māori are more likely to miss out on post-birth care.
“I would like to thank every one of the more than 900 people who shared their story for being brave, honest, and, above all, committed to ensuring others receive the support they have so far missed out on,” says Jan Logie.
Today is the last day for submissions on the Accident Compensation (Maternal Birth Injury and Other Matters) Amendment Bill.