Tuesday, 14 December 2010

If you’re going to have an accident, then don’t have it in New Zealand

The recent Herald series highlighting victims of the Accident Compensation Corporation makes as plain as day that if you’re going to have an accident, then don’t whatever you do have it in New Zealand.

These are horror stories. A healthy 15-year old netballer refused treatment on her knee and left to suffer. A 29-year-old builder refused payment for surgery on his back. A 43-year old woman who couldn’t even put on her bra told “we’re not doing shoulders at the moment.” A 24-year-old rugby player who suffered years of shoulder dislocations after his initial refusal, only to be finally told his injury was “degenerative.” A horse-riding 37-year old mother suffering debilitating neck pain after a car accident—pain never felt before—refused treatment because she was told it was “degenerative.” A 36-year-old builder suffering further injuries from his untreated neck injury (untreated because of ACC refusal) was then refused treatment for the further injuries because they were, said the ACC, “not caused by his treatment.” As the man in pain says, “It’s not a treatment injury, it’s a lack-of-treatment injury caused by the 22-month delay in the operation on the other shoulder.”

The daily horror stories being told in the Herald reveal that stories like these are not unusual. They are legion. That this treatment they mete out to good people is their standard method of operation.

That it’s not unusual for victims of accidents to be refused treatment, to suffer lengthy delays causing further injury, to be told that their injury is “degenerative,” to spend more money on lawyers than on treatment—to spend the end of what were productive lives in agony, while the system set up (allegedly) to help folk like this spurns any responsibility for them.

This is the cold-hearted face of government “charity.” Formerly good, productive New Zealanders left to eke out an existence on pain-killers and pity because the system supposed to help them can’t even help itself.

Face it: the whole system is as fraudulent as it is farcical. Retired “doctors” paid a nice fee for a few hours rubber-stamping the refusal of medical care, and  bureaucrats with no more medical knowledge than a Friday-night drunk, between them sit in faceless judgement upon the lives of good people, with no comeback for these inhuman and cost-driven decisions.

This is nothing new. And it is all about cost.

The costs of this scheme have been blowing out for years—blowing out not because the wealth doesn’t exist to treat them, but because the scheme as set up is simply unsustainable.

There’s no saving it or amending it, because the very basis of the scheme makes it the unaffordable, uncontrollable behemoth it is. It’s no more an accident insurance scheme than Nick Smith is an astronaut.

And even those who do have private insurance are refused treatment by their providers because (due to the ACC legislation) they can’t pay for injuries that are the result of accidents. Which leaves us all to pay into and suffer an unsustainable welfare scheme whose very title, “accident compensation,” is a misnomer. It’s not compensation, it’s dereliction.

This, people, is the face of the socialised health system of which this country is so unreasonably and illogically proud. Good people are being pushed around and trodden upon by scum—and that’s precisely the way the “system” was set up to work.

If you’re going to have an accident, then don’t whatever you do have it in New Zealand.

You’ll be entering a whole world of pain you didn’t know even existed.


  1. Weren't the government going to open ACC up to competition? When was it supposed to happen?

  2. The worshippers of ACC say it is the envy of the world, and trot out the PWC report paid for by those who wanted the answer they got.

    No other country has anything like ACC, the closest that exists is compulsory accident insurance for road accidents.

    The answer given as to why is "corruption" by tort lawyers campaigning for the status quo. Yet, funnily enough, the entire Western world seems to have watched the NZ experiment and said "no thanks".

    At the very least the entire system should be opened to competition so people can buy the cover they want beyond the bare minimum, and ACC's unresponsiveness be held accountable.

    However, I forgot Labour didn't lose the last election - not in spirit anyway.

  3. Easy. Just make 'contributions' to (and ergo utilisation of) this state owned monopoly non-compulsory.

  4. I saw--time and again--the same losers coming through E.D. on their third overdose, young guys with lacerations caused by punching out windows when drunk, fourteen year-old girls coming through yet again suffering from alcohol poisoning...and lots more.
    And every damn one was treated for no charge, on ACC.
    It obviously pays to be a loser scumbag, under this system.

  5. Can you sue over medical malpractice in NZ? If you can't, that seems absurd and obscene. Even in UK with its NHS, you can sue - and people often do.


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