Rolling back the 2010 changes to the Accident Compensation Act 2001
In 2010 the National Government amended the Accident Compensation Act. The new Minister for ACC, Hon Lees-Galloway has indicated to ACC Futures that he intends to repeal these changes. The Minister has indicated that there will be a Bill before Parliament in early 2019.
We support the Minister’s undertaking to repeal the 2010 changes to the Accident Compensation Act. This repeal would see the reversal of the following changes made in 2010:
- The six percent threshold for cover for hearing loss;
- Change of definition of vocational independence from 35 to 30 hours of work per week;
- The amendment to s 30(2) introducing stricter requirements for cover for a work-related gradual process, disease or infection;
- Repeal of the Ministerial Advisory Panel on work-related gradual process, disease, or infection;
- Disentitlement for wilfully self-inflicted personal injuries and suicide;
- Disentitlement for certain imprisoned offenders;
- Calculation of Weekly Compensation for those outside of permanent employment at point of injury;
- Decrease in Weekly Compensation which potential earners are eligible to;
- Increase of time of weekly compensation from two to five weeks required before Weekly Compensation is raised to the statutory minimum;
- Abatement of Holiday Pay.
This however is not an exhaustive list of the changes made in 2010.
Preliminary Legal Changes
ACC Futures has also identified immediate issues for reform which should be included in the 2019 Bill. These include:
- Tax on backdated compensation;
- Costs (in regulations);
- Earner status at time of injury and time of incapacity;
- Eligibility to lump sum for those suffering Somatic Pain Disorder;
- Eligibility to KiwiSaver contributions while on weekly compensation;
- Unenforceability of review decisions;
- Timeliness of primary entitlement decisions
- Appeals to the Supreme Court
- Introduction of filing fees at the District Court
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Access to justice
This ACC Futures project will focus on independent dispute resolution, independent medical evidence, the establishment of a personal injury commissioner, appeals to Supreme Court, the possibility of fees, and an advocacy service (legal advice). This will be a medium term project. It will be led by Denise Powell and Warren Forster.
The following documents outline current issues and possible solutions regarding access to justice:
Expansion of the scheme
This project focuses on extension of the ACC Scheme. It relates to all work related harm, and health and disability, with no discrimination based on cause and to be outcomes based. It will be led by Dr Hilary Stace. Associate Professor Susan St John will be working on the economic impact if the scheme is to be extended.