Wednesday, 11 March 2009

No Fault, No Care, No Responsibility

Government welfare is almost an oxymoron, yet it’s the basis on which the whole edifice of big government is based: the ability of big government to extract payment from one group to give to another.

We’ve all seen the many well-documented problems with the welfare state created.

New Zealand’s welfare system is further corrupted by the disaster that is the Accident Compensation Corporation, a sinecure for a special breed of bureaucrat for whom a billion dollar blowout is nothing to worry about, the organisation at whose birth government in their wisdom removed the legal power to obtain payment from those who might be responsible for your injury.

As Liberty Scott points out, the ACC is a monopoly without accountability.  Injured in a burglary? No problem: here’s a cheque.  Injured while escaping from prison? No problem, here’s a cheque. But what happens if you get poor service from ACC? Well if you are a claimant you can appeal to the District Court…  And good luck with that.  What happens if your levies go up?  Tough luck.  What happens if, say, you’re maimed by medical misadventure, and ACC declines to recognise your claim?  Tough luck.

The ethos of ACC is no fault, no care, no responsibility.  And in Liberty Scott’s calculations, that means Public Health Care + ACC = No Accountability

Which means if you lose an eye through incompetence, have cancer spread fatally because of delays or oversights, or have an incapacitating stroke because of delays in treating your first minor stroke (to quote some examples of government health blunders) then that’s just your tough luck – and if ACC decides to throw out your claim as well, then you’re on your own.

1989001Like I said the other day, there’s now’t so cold as government charity, despite charity being the justification for the whole edifice of the welfare state.

Take the case of John Whittaker, pictured right with his 19-year-old daughter Alix; incapacitated by a bungled treatment of his diabetes, and now utterly incapable of looking after himself.  He’s recently been told by ACC that the home help he now needs will be pulled on April 3rd. (Short stories here at Stuff, and at Close Up.) 

Both ACC and WINZ have done assessments since those stories were run that conclude John is in desperate need of the care he has been receiving . . . but neither of them will take responsibility.  ACC won’t take responsibility any more because he has other health problems outside the ACC claim – and presumably ACC’s cost blowouts are starting to make them withdraw their payments. And WINZ won’t take responsibility because he doesn’t fit their criteria: bizarrely, their own payments to him put him over the income threshold for receiving home help.

Lots of finger-pointing, but no accountability.  No fault, no care, no responsibility. So much for the welfare state we’re in.

Luckily he has daughter Alix to fight and care for him—a daughter who will be abandoning her studies and leaving her work at the campus of design school NatColl on April 3rd to look after him if nothing else can be done.  Alix reckons they could manage with just $8824.23 to keep paying the home help themselves, and keep her in work and fighting bureaucracy. 

Fortunately too, Westpac bank have set up a Donation Appeal Account to help raise that sum. The account will be closed down within a month, says Alix, if the target of $8824.23 is reached, and any excess money will go to Diabetes New Zealand.

Feel free to help.

It’s more than the system you pay for is able to do.

NB: I’m told the account so far has just over $1700, and there is also a Facebook group which is doing nicely:

Account details are : John Whittaker - Home Care Account 


  1. No charity for me.

    I never ever pay any donations to causes that should have been covered by the very system I am forced to pay taxes for.

    It would be a charity bailout of the very systems I despise so much

    I suppose that is my way to do "do a John Galt"

  2. But this girl is fighting it with everything she's got. I wager she has done more to "fight the system" than most people will ever do in their lives. It is not a charity bail out, it is giving a child the support she needs to continue being courageous. She is not asking for a "bailout" as you call it. She is asking for the means to continue doing what she knows is right. She is not asking them to make and exception for her father, she is fighting for all she's worth to get the legislation changed. That is not charity that is funding an activist.


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