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My Story: Lousy ACC Cover and Thoughts on the Proposed Changes

October 22nd, 2009 by Madeleine

Yesterday I applied for and got a one week extension on my research project as I couldn’t keep up with the necessary pace to finish it by Friday – I was getting too sore. This means that open mic week(s) needs to continue a little longer so please bear with us and do submit a guest post.

Whilst we are trying to have blinkers on in terms of anything but study and essential day to day life, there have been some issues that have come up that we really want to blog on but lack the time. One in particular really has me going – the proposed changes to ACC.

There is not point in repeating what most bloggers of my political persuasion have already opined, I’ll just throw down a few thoughts from my own perspective as an ACC client.

My first point is that ACC is not welfare. It is an Accident Compensation Scheme. Accident compensation is about restoring a victim of an accident that was not their fault to as close as possible the state they were in pre-accident. Tort law is the area of law that, in the absence of state interference, covers injury caused by people’s negligence – what we call “accidents” here in New Zealand. Tort law says that you must take your victim as you find them; restoration, assessment of harm, is not to be based on the average person but on that person, the victim.

My next point that I’d like you to keep in mind as you read this is that I think that ACC should be private and fault based. This is my ideal. My ideal is not reality as in New Zealand, accident compensation is state run. While it remains state funded, while the option to sue my injurer remains unavailable to me by statute, it must function as a just and fair accident compensation scheme, run in line with tort jurisprudence.

“The assessor ACC sent around told me, get this, that my 8 and 9 year olds should be doing all the washing, vacuuming, dishes, etc! Unbelievable! I would, justifiably, have CYF on my doorstep if took that advice.”

I have some criticisms of the proposed changes based on that fundamental premise ACC is built on, that it is supposed to be an accident compensation scheme. I reiterate, I support moves in the direction of privatisation e.g. rebates for those who take out private accident insurance. I agree that it should not be available to those who get hurt participating in crime. I think it should not be available to those who self-harm when they have refused treatment and are culpable for the self-harm (I think self-harm is not as cut and dried as people think). I also think, given how bankrupt ACC is, that it is only realistic that the money come from somewhere, increased levies are inevitable as is some threshold or excess level. However, that is about as far as I’ll go with the government on this one. Getting it right as to what should be cut and what must be left is crucial and ACC and the new proposals FAIL miserably on this score.

People say that ACC is “excellent cover” and a “great scheme” but I disagree. I have lived on it for the past year and half since a car accident required the big black thing, in the middle of the below MRI scan of my neck, to be inserted into my neck. See how it is making a bulge into my spinal cord (the long dark gray thing in the middle)?

My MRI

Anyway, having set out my premises, disclosed my bias and established that I am, in fact, injured, now judge for yourself if you think my cover is excellent or great or even adequate.

Pre-accident I was the main bread-winner for our family which comprises 4 children and two adults. I worked for a generous company that gave regular pay rises, gifts and outings to its staff and sometimes their families. I had access to discounted (sometimes free) cereal products and sandwich spreads which helped a lot with the family grocery bill. The company paid for my university fees, my text books and for me to attend lectures so I could complete my law degree. I had a career path set out in front of me, there was a ladder to climb. Matt worked part-time/fixed-term jobs within academia as he has struggled to find full time work as an academic within New Zealand. That worked for us as someone had to be home with the kids, though we would have preferred it the other way around, Matt full-time as an academic and me part-time but you know, life’s like that sometimes and as a family you make the best of it.

In March 08, whilst I was lawfully stopped at traffic lights, having left work heading for Uni, a woman drove into the back of my car, smashed me into the car in front, writing off my car and destroying two of the discs in my neck which led to disc replacement surgery in Dec 08. She was never charged, I was never given an explanation as to what happened, oh and, she never even had the decency to come over to my car and see if I was alright – other people, passers by and the occupants of the car in front, called the ambulance and stayed with me. As far as I know she got to go back to her life with only her own car insurance claim to worry about and she doesn’t have a clue about what happened to me (my injuries were initially mis-diagnosed as mild whiplash).

My employer got put through hell. All sorts of ACC nightmares ( I was officially on the clock) that took managers out of their normal jobs. My managers had to put up with temp after temp who couldn’t quite do my job because they didn’t have my institutional knowledge of the company. Nevertheless work sent me flowers, phoned me and held my job far longer than they legally had to. Eventually, when it became apparent I was not going to be fit for work for a very long time, if ever, they let me go but threw me a big party and gave me a leaving present.

ACC’s treatment of me was a different story.

We live on 80% of the full-time salary I was earning two years ago. No pay rises, no perks, no discounted household products or entertainment. No uni fees, no text books… So in reality it is not 80% of the income I was on as part of that income was not not salary, it is less than 80%.

How would you and your household  cope with a 20%+ drop in your income?

Then there are the extra costs that ACC do not cover:

Because I cannot just go to the chemist and get my pain medications without a prescription, I have to pay $20 a pop to my GP every 6 weeks to get the piece of paper that says I can get my pain meds. I tell the GP what drugs I want, how many and the GP rubber stamps it.

Every 12 weeks my specialist wants an x-ray. These cost me $35 a pop.

We have to purchase a tube of deep heat every week – it’s $8-10 depending on supermarket specials.

Then there is the petrol spent driving to the GP, pharmacy and specialist (his office is a decent drive). There is also the removal of Matt from whatever work or study he is doing to attend these appointments as I often cannot drive to them. Then there is the babysitting to get rid of the kids so I can attend these.

Add in the random stuff, MRI scans, visits to pain clinics and you get a more of these costs.

The expensive supportive bed we had to purchase so I could sleep cost a couple of grand.

Then there is the $200 pillow – it is a neck injury that I have afterall.

We recently purchased a monster bean bag so I have something supportive I can sit in, it is excellent for recovering after I have overdone it and it will be vital for exams and for having something portable when I want/need to go out – I can now spend a weekend-day at the beach with my kids for example. It cost $150.

Then there is Osteo treatment. Osteo treatment reduces the level of pain drugs I need to take by almost half. It is a very effective form of treatment. I am in less pain, I have improved function as a result of less pain, I can get more out of my life and I take less drugs. Osteo is GOOD. This costs me $35 per week. (Physio is free but physio is not effective for this injury – I have seen half a dozen different physios and none can produce the results anything like what osteo treatment can). As a family we made the sacrifices necessary to find that $35 a week. Until last week when my Osteo informed me that ACC had declined to fund their part of the treatment. I now owe my Osteo $75 for the 3 treatments that  I had after ACC decided they were not going to keep funding treatment but didn’t bother to tell me or the Osteo. If I want to continue Osteo I have to find $60 a week now.

But see above, I don’t have $60 spare a week. ACC does not even come close to restoring me to what I had before I was the victim of an accident.

So it is back to being a curled up ball of pain with no life or being completely fuzzed out on drugs.

Did I mention that continually taking the drugs (before I discovered osteo) irritated my stomach and caused so much pain to my stomach that I was admitted to hospital last year?

Apparently this decision makes sense to someone in ACC.

How does one quantify the mental costs? The stress, the cost to my family, my children not having me able to  actively participate in the physical aspects of their lives, knowing I will probably never be able to do the sport I love again?

But that’s not all. Then there are the battles with ACC.

They are trying to get me off their books. Now I get that. People bludge, make claims they are not entitled to and ACC needs to work out who should be on their books and who should not. However, when you have someone on your books who is in the constant, intense pain I am in, who has their life as altered as mine is, who has doctors and specialists and osteos and physios and everyone who has examined them singing the same tune, that should tell you something. That should tell you that paying a consultant to come around to that person’s house and spend two hours plus with them and then go away and write up a report stating what potential jobs that person could do if they went back to work is a tad premature. Especially when that person is but 2 papers away from having a law degree as obtaining the law degree dramatically changes the types of jobs that person will be able to do. But no, after ACC did this they then sent me to their own specialist, just yesterday, to get him to agree that I could do said recommended jobs.

They told me that if he said I could work 35 hours (30 hours under the new changes) then I would lose the 80% of my wage that ACC pay me and if in fact I couldn’t work that I would get sickness benefit instead (considerably less than 80% of my wage). Thankfully, the specialist on meeting with me agreed that it was extremely premature for me to be seeing him to discuss work options given the pain levels and almost seemed embarrassed at having been put in this position by ACC when it was so obvious – I have an outstanding MRI result that I have the scans for but not the result, that may or may not rule out more surgery and the pain clinic has just accepted me for their program but I am yet to do it – that I am a long way away from being able to work.

The taxpayer footed the bill for all of the above and it was not only unnecessary but extremely worrying for us. An example of ACC working to a time-formula rather than on the file facts.

Even more worrying is that under the proposed new changes ACC will not have to factor in my former salary level.  In the meeting with the consultant who looked at my job skill set, the fact I knew how to make coffee and run a restaurant meant that things like waitressing, barista work, etc came up. I knew how to do these things from the crap jobs that one picks up when one is a student or is going through rough patch but I hated those jobs. I absolutely never want to have to do though sorts of jobs again. I worked hard and gained skill sets and then gained a job that I loved that was using those new skills precisely so that I did not have to do, what I viewed as, crap jobs. Further it is not my fault that I lost that job. Thankfully a policy existed that meant that ACC could only push me towards jobs that paid within the ball-park of my previous job and used my skill-set so the risk of having to take a crap job in the event I recovered was minimised.

However that policy is about to be axed.

Amongst National’s proposed changes to ACC is the removal of that policy, if passed it will mean that if ACC find you a crap job using the skills obtained from you old after school job you have to take it, even if your pre-accident job was something much better paid and more prestigious and fulfilling. That is just not ok. It is not adequate compensation at all. If I was on unemployment benefit I would take any job I could get – in fact being unemployed is precisely how I came to get cafe and restaurant experience in the first place, I did take any job I could get. But this is different. I am not on welfare, I am on ACC.

Then there is the home help thing. We have 4 kids. Two of our kids, our boys, have disabilities (Aspergers Syndrome and as-yet-undiagnosed-but-diabolically-behaved). Matt has this  year gone off to teachers training college so he can get a post-grad diploma in teaching (more state bollocks but that’s another post) so he can improve his chances of obtaining full-time work and get our family back above the bread-line – so he is not  home much. Mon-Fri I am at home with our 8 and 9 year olds who are homeschooled largely because of the undiagnosed condition of the youngest. I cannot do dishes, washing (we do 1-2 loads per day), vaccuming, mopping, picking up, etc. Matt and Sherry (17 year old at Uni) get home frequently, after dinner, and then have assignments and study to do as well as helping as much as they can with housework.

ACC were giving me 6 hours a week home help to stay on top of those day-time things which meant that if Matt and Sherry got stuck into the rest around their studies we could keep on top of our housework. ACC mysteriously slashed my home help, to 2 hours a week. When I protested it I got given a review. The reviewer was really harsh. She kept saying that ACC will only pay for washing to be done once a week, vacuuming once a week, etc – though no policy proving that was shown to me and when I asked “well how did I used to get 6 hours a week, has been a policy change?” this was dodged. She kept saying other people cope, you have a husband and two teenagers they should be helping. When I pointed out that they are, that they are permanently exhausted from all they do and I feel like a bad mother for the amount Sherry helps with yet my house is still a mess as they are leaving the house at 6.30am and coming home after 6pm with assignments and doing what they can but it is not enough, also that  our 14 year old has Aspergers Syndrome and just panics and goes loopy if he is asked to do much more than a batch of dishes, he has a mental condition, it is not reasonable to expect too much from him.  In response to this, the assessor ACC sent around told me, get this, that my 8 and 9 year olds should be doing all the washing, vacuuming, dishes, etc! Unbelievable! I would, justifiably, have CYF on my doorstep if took that advice. I’m all for encouraging the kids to help out – it is part of being a family, it is how one learns to do these things for adult life but pulling the slack left by an adult incapable of running the house is going beyond too far for most, let alone 8 and 9 year olds!

Once I am free of exam and research I am going to do a massive appeal over this, a heap of energy expended fighting for something I shouldn’t have to fight for, but in the mean-time don’t visit because my house is a tip – I am horribly embarrassed by it but short of hurting myself or treating my young children like slaves or having Matt and Sherry give up sleep – they are both exhausted – there is not much I can do about it. It is again ridiculous and another example of lousy cover. There were no medical indicators to support their decision to slash my home help, my specialist, the specialist ACC  sent me to yesterday and my GP agree that I need a good 4-6  hours a week home help but ACC will not listen to them.

If you think I am starting to sound like a bludger who wants to get picky whilst resting on the taxpayer I remind you that ACC is not welfare, it is compensation, it is supposed to restore me to my pre-accident life because, due to no fault of my own, I was a victim of someone else’s negligence.  This policy will fall well short of that goal. If I am made to go waitressing our family will have to take a $30,000+ drop in pay and I’ll be stuck with a mind-numbing, dead-end job. Why? because I lawfully stopped at a traffic light and the state has set up the law so that the person who injured me was allowed to just walk away, I cannot sue and we are all penalised so hard via taxation that only the wealthy can afford to pay twice and get private accident insurance? How is that just?

I am not saying that I don’t think I should have to go back to work, when/if I am recovered and able to unless I have a job every bit as excellent as the job I had before the accident (that is probably unrealistic as I had it very good) but it is reasonable to want something close surely? To want something at least in the ball-park pay wise and with a future attached it it? Is that asking too much given that several years of pain-hell will have passed before I ever/if I ever get to that point?

If ACC cannot provide good support and restore people to something at least resembling the victim of an accident’s pre-injury life then it needs to be axed and handed over to the private sector. It cannot, see above, so axe it now.

To those of you insisting it remain state owned and protesting raises in levies ask yourself, how would you cope if you  were injured and were in my situation? Your career cut-off, your income slashed, the treatment options that were working now just out of reach and your future bleak? Is it worth the socialist-joy of knowing that “we own it”?

A better question, if you had to pay for accident compensation and you had the money to do so would you choose a company who gave the cover as outlined above or would shop around?

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68 responses so far ↓

  • Kind of a bit off topic, but have you tried the Alexander Technique? It has great success with people with spinal injuries. There would be teachers in Auckland. I trained as a teacher of the technique a number of years back, and came into contact with a number of people with spinal injuries who attested to it’s effectiveness.
    .-= My last blog-post ..Gay panic causes suicide =-.

  • I have not heard of it. I’ll check it out. Is there a website?

    But unless it is free or very cheap or ACC funded I cannot afford it. No lump sum compensation any more you see…

  • […] the original: My Story: Lousy ACC Cover and Thoughts on the Proposed Changes | MandM By admin | category: consultant salary | tags: developer, executive-compensation, […]

  • If you just do a search in Google for Alexander Technique, you’ll find a number of sites that talk about it. There’s no one site that is the definitive place for describing it, so I can’t really recommend any as such. It’s not particularly expensive either – you can have as many or as few lessons as you want or need. Some people respond to it very quickly, so don’t need a lot of lessons, other people are much slower with getting it (such as myself).
    .-= My last blog-post ..Gay panic causes suicide =-.

  • And here’s the results of a study that showed that those with chronic back pain did best when given a number of Alexander lessons, rather than standard treatments.
    .-= My last blog-post ..Gay panic causes suicide =-.

  • “I remind you that ACC is not welfare, it is compensation, it is supposed to restore me to my pre-accident life because, due to no fault of my own, I was a victim of someone else’s negligence. ………………..Why? because I lawfully stopped at a traffic light and the state has set up the law so that the person who injured me was allowed to just walk away, I cannot sue and we are all penalised so hard via taxation that only the wealthy can afford to pay twice and get private accident insurance? How is that just?”

    Well it is not and I have a few more examples of people who have ended up in similar circumstance.

    The worst part they all say is that the other person who has ruined or affected their life so much, not only walks away and continues theirs as normal but cannot actually see the pain and suffering the injured party has gone through.

    ACC works for low income people with limited job prospects but 80% of income to a ceiling of $82k is pathetic for someone who is either highly skilled or motivated for extra qualifications and career advancement.

  • What do you say to a situation like this? I wish I lived up in Auckland I’d come and help you out!

  • Thanks Lucia I will check it out.

    Cactus Kate appreciate your comments. I have wasted a lot of energy getting bitter about the woman that radically left my life – it is another example of the injustice.

    Thanks Anthony, and to the people who have emailed too, it is really nice to know so many people get it.

    I just wish Matt could get get a really good, real job – that some university or theological institution would hire him and use his talents. Then we wouldn’t need ACC and could solve our own problems and at least one of us would have a career and when you are a family that’s not nothing, it is comfort. I hate the thought of him stuck as a teacher – it is a good second choice for him but it is not his first choice and it is not the optimal use of his skill set.

    That too I’d love someone who has the time and skill to take up my issues with ACC and help us fight them. We are swamped and worn out. An ACC lawyer who works on contingency or similar contacting us would be great!

    I really hope that the government takes these issues on board and doesn’t act rashly. To that end your comments and links all help.
    .-= My last blog-post ..My Story: Lousy ACC Cover and Thoughts on the Proposed Changes =-.

  • My sympathies.

    However – you do come across as a white middle class whiner who, despite being a right-wing anti-welfare bigot, at the same time thinks THEY are owed everything by the state. Becaseu You are not like those other bludgers who don’t want to make anything of their lives!

    You NEED a cleaner six hours a week… you NEED to have pay for work you are not able to do. Its not YOUR FAULT!

    I am sure you would look down on someone who was born into this situation – or whose family background meant they had few job prospects. Or someone who could not find work due the prejudice which exists in this nation. But you are a good white middle class family – not bludgers! You even voted for ACT and support welfare cuts for those losers too lazy to work… but YOU should be given everything you ask for!

    As for complaining that there is a ceiling of 82K and this is just not enough to live on in New Zealand! Get in touch with reality my friend!

    Either accept the capitalist system where there is inequality and bad luck can lead to poverty… or don’t.

    Personally I think you should get better support – but not for the reasons you state.

  • I am sure you would look down on someone who was born into this situation – or whose family background meant they had few job prospects. Or someone who could not find work due the prejudice which exists in this nation.

    Annon
    If you believe this then you are truly one of life’s losers.

    It is not called ACCIDENT compensation for nothing. The problem is that it has been hijacked by losers like you to become Welfare Compensation treating things it should be going nowhere near and we can’t afford.
    Bring on the private option.

  • Lou:

    Can you please put some punctuation in your comment. As it stands it is incomprehensible.

    Thanks.

  • Your comment is seriously screwed up Anon.

    You wrote: “Either accept the capitalist system where there is inequality and bad luck can lead to poverty… or don’t.”

    I do accept the capitalist system. I don’t live in a country that practices it. I think you completely missed my point, it wasn’t about that.

    You accuse us of being a “a good white middle class family”

    Actually two of my children are Maori so we are not a “white family.”

    You then wrote: “I am sure you would look down on someone who was born into this situation – or whose family background meant they had few job prospects.”

    If this was true then I’d be looking down on me. When I was a kid I ate with a plastic knife and fork I found in the bushes and took home to my mother because we couldn’t afford cutlery.

    My family was broken, life was violent. I left home at 16, amidst violence, did not finish school and went on to a path of domestic violence, teen pregnancy and picked up criminal convictions.

    I am where I am (rather, I was where I was) because I worked my ass off and I rose above my situation and found God (not in that order). No one handed me jobs, skills or qualifications and the sacrifices I made to get there were extremely hard.

    You rounded the whole thing off with a charge of prejudice – ironic much? you looked down on and pre-judged me because you thought I was middle class! You assumed I would look down on “someone who could not find work due the prejudice which exists in this nation.”

    This claim is equally ridiculous. Exhibit A, my husband, a PhD qualified in philosophical theology cannot obtain work in his field largely due to stupid prejudice and politics. Do I look down on him? Of course not.

    Do we throw our hands up in the air and say oh well, prejudice exists, let’s go on the dole? No we set up this blog, we write for publications, we are trying to get his name out there, trying to fight the politics by showing that the assumptions are wrong and we send out his CV and we rethink the situation and come at it differently. Not giving up costs us, it takes up our time, our energy, it is demoralising at times but it is the right thing to do in the face of prejudice – if that makes us middle class then I am proud to wear that label but why do you have to label people?

    Bottom line the standard of cover I have received is inadequate. ACC is not working as it should. There is no way a private company would do as lousy a job of providing cover as I experienced because they’d lose clients. If we had a tax rebate and a choice of private accident insurers we’d get better service and it would cost us less. How can you be against that?

    .-= My last blog-post ..My Story: Lousy ACC Cover and Thoughts on the Proposed Changes =-.

  • I could put in a Fool Stop but you bet me to it, Annon.

    Well said Madeleine and if anyone ever deserved the healing hand of God , it would be you.

  • Heh, another new guy 😉
    .-= My last blog-post ..Quote of the Day =-.

  • RAFLOL (well not actually rolling around the floor – injury and all) … I just got your comment ScubOne.

  • “I do accept the capitalist system. I don’t live in a country that practices it. I think you completely missed my point.”

    – you would be out on the street in a dog-eat-dog pure capitalist world. Why on earth (some) Christians think that providing food for the hungry, clothes and medical care for the poor, and help to the afflicted is such a moral outrage I will never understand. But then Matt is a qualified theologian (with a PhD no less!) – so I guess you must be right.

    “Actually two of my children are part-maori so we are not a “white family.””

    – I was talking culturally – not “racially” obviously. I was talking about your political biases, not your eye color…..

    “If this was true then I’d be looking down on me. When I was a kid I ate with a plastic knife and fork I found in the bushes and took home to my mother because we couldn’t afford cutlery… etc etc etc etc.”

    – I was commenting on what you say and your attitudes – not on your life story. I can only judge you by the ideas you put out on your forum – so don’t get all self righteous and defensive when I do. I don’t know anything about your life. I am judging your IDEAS. “Boo hoo hoo. Woe is me” is not a good logical argument.

    “No one handed me jobs, skills or qualifications and the sacrifices I made to get there were extremely hard.”

    – Amazing. How do you get jobs skills and qualifications without someone else (indeed a whole society) handing them to you? Or are you a hermit who builds everything from scratch?

    “You looked down on and pre-judged me because you thought I was middle class!”

    – no I judged you because of your irrational IDEAS. Not you. Your IDEAS. Can you see the difference? Being middle class is fine. Being a right winger is fine. Being a right winger who whines because they don’t get enough welfare is irrational.

    “my husband, a PhD qualified in philosophical theology cannot obtain work in his field largely due to stupid prejudice and politics. ”

    – Again. Not really interested in your life story… and I have no way of knowing what his work history is. I can only go on the ideas you post here.

    “There is no way a private company would do as lousy a job of providing cover as I experienced because they’d lose clients. ”

    – Do you ever read the news????

    “Bottom line the standard of cover I have received is inadequate”

    – I agree. I just don’t think it fits in with your wider philosophical ideas.

    “If we had a tax rebate and a choice of private accident insurers we’d get better service and it would cost us less. How can you be against that?”

    – Yes – because New Zealand’s experiments with privatization of public assets and services have been a roaring success. And as of late private companies have been REALLY successful in providing a stable and well managed insurance industry. You are completely correct.

  • “Being a right winger who whines because they don’t get enough welfare is irrational.”

    There’s your problem right there. All the rest of your comment is simply fluff. (And I won’t even go near your absurd “you didn’t do it yourself – you’re simply redefining terms that don’t suit your arguement)

    Your big problem is that you see ACC as welfare – it isn’t.

    It’s insurance, run by the state. It’s a monopoly. Madeline has made it quite clear that she wants it gone, because she feels the service from a private provider would be better. She wants to sue the idiot that ran into her.

    She’s asking for what was promised when the right to sue was removed. She’s not asking for a handout because she’s poor or broke, only the correct payout on her insurance.
    .-= My last blog-post ..Quote of the Day =-.

  • OK. So a serious question.

    Let’s say Madalien’s accident had happened because a tree branch in a forest had fallen on her head – and there was no-one to sue. Should she be placed in a worse situation because of this? Is the one freak event (a branch falling) really that different from another freak event (a person in a car losing concentration).

    Should the person who suffers from the former not get the same support as the one who suffers from the latter. If it is all about the right to sue that’s what you seem to be saying.

  • Anon insurance companies not only make distinctions between genuine accidents and negligence they also have policies that cover both.

  • I guess the New Zealand government made a decision to provide the same level of care (as much as it could afford to) to all New Zealander’s. Whether they were rich or poor.

    This means that the wealthy will not be as well off as they were before the accident. Tough luck really.Why should the tax payer pay them more because they USED to earn more? Is someone more deserving of help and compassion because they had a good job when an accident happened?

    And ACC *IS* welfare! Sorry if that offends your right-wing sensibilities…. but it just is. Asking for money from the State because you are too weak to help yourself is what welfare is about. It is not a dirty word though…. don’t be ashamed to receive help. Be humble.

  • “I do accept the capitalist system. I don’t live in a country that practices it. I think you completely missed my point.”
    – you would be out on the street in a dog-eat-dog pure capitalist world.

    Actually no, Madeleine could in a capitalist system seek compensation from the person who caused her injury.
    Why on earth (some) Christians think that providing food for the hungry, clothes and medical care for the poor, and help to the afflicted is such a moral outrage I will never understand. But then Matt is a qualified theologian (with a PhD no less!) – so I guess you must be right.
    Well if I or Madeleine (or any Conservative Christian I know of for that matter) had ever said or argued that that providing food for the hungry, clothes and medical care for the poor, and help to the afflicted is such a moral outrage you might have a point. But we did not, you seem to make the common mistake of assuming that socialism is the same thing as helping the poor and so if one rejects it one does not support helping the poor that’s simply a false equation.

    I actually support and have argued that a just society should contain institutions that support the poor. But this claim is not the same as the denial of capitalism nor is it the same as affirming socialism.

    – I was talking culturally – not “racially” obviously. I was talking about your political biases, not your eye color….

    You were being racist, you suggested that Madeliene’s demand for fair compensation should be ignored because she is “white” and “middle class” something I find rather disgusting

    – I was commenting on what you say and your attitudes – not on your life story. I can only judge you by the ideas you put out on your forum – so don’t get all self righteous and defensive when I do. I don’t know anything about your life. I am judging your IDEAS. “Boo hoo hoo. Woe is me” is not a good logical argument.

    Well you clearly have not read our forum because no where have we ever said the things you attribute to us, for example where have I ever said “providing food for the hungry, clothes and medical care for the poor, and help to the afflicted is such a moral outrage” that’s a caricature you made up, not an idea I expressed on this forum.

    – no I judged you because of your irrational IDEAS. Not you. Your IDEAS. Can you see the difference? Being middle class is fine. Being a right winger is fine. Being a right winger who whines because they don’t get enough welfare is irrational.
    Well you did not read the post accurately then, Madeleine did not complain that she did not get enough “welfare”. Her point was that the state was not justly compensated her and her right to get it privately has been taken from by the state.
    .
    “There is no way a private company would do as lousy a job of providing cover as I experienced because they’d lose clients. ”
    – Do you ever read the news????

    Yes, but if you want to study the history of how governments have used their power over the centuries you’ll find that the private sector is benign by comparison.

    – I agree. I just don’t think it fits in with your wider philosophical ideas.

    Well if we had ever written anything that entailed that people who are injured by another are not entitled to compensation proportionate to their injury that might be a sound point. But we didn’t so its not
    .-= My last blog-post ..My Story: Lousy ACC Cover and Thoughts on the Proposed Changes =-.

  • This means that the wealthy will not be as well off as they were before the accident. Tough luck really.Why should the tax payer pay them more because they USED to earn more? Is someone more deserving of help and compassion because they had a good job when an accident happened?

    Actually its very simple, compensation is supposed to be proportionate to the injury and loss occurred. (thats what the word compensate means) that what justice requires that offenders compensate their victims loses.

    If a persons negligence inflicts greater loss on the victim then the victim is entitled to greater compensation. A persons race, class, gender, politics have nothing to do with it.
    .-= My last blog-post ..My Story: Lousy ACC Cover and Thoughts on the Proposed Changes =-.

  • Let’s say Madalien’s accident had happened because a tree branch in a forest had fallen on her head – and there was no-one to sue. Should she be placed in a worse situation because of this? Is the one freak event (a branch falling) really that different from another freak event (a person in a car losing concentration).

    The obvious difference in this situation is that no person can be held responsible for what has occurred whereas in the car accident case someones negligence caused the injury.

    In the latter case then one can demand by right that a particular person compensate you. In the former its not clear one can identify any particular person that owes you compensation.
    .-= My last blog-post ..My Story: Lousy ACC Cover and Thoughts on the Proposed Changes =-.

  • “The obvious difference in this situation is that no person can be held responsible for what has occurred whereas in the car accident case someones negligence caused the injury.

    In the latter case then one can demand by right that a particular person compensate you. In the former its not clear one can identify any particular person that owes you compensation.”

    Well done Matt. I can see why they gave you a PhD.

  • “compensation is supposed to be proportionate to the injury and loss occurred. (thats what the word compensate means) that what justice requires that offenders compensate their victims loses.”

    I love the way you state your wild assumptions as though they were a good starting point for an argument.

  • “Actually no, Madeleine could in a capitalist system seek compensation from the person who caused her injury.”

    Better hope you get hit by a rich person then huh? Its a crazy idea. And unworkable. And you know it.

    “Yes, but if you want to study the history of how governments have used their power over the centuries you’ll find that the private sector is benign by comparison.”

    Irreverent to this discussion.

    “You were being racist, you suggested that Madeliene’s demand for fair compensation should be ignored because she is “white” and “middle class” something I find rather disgusting”

    I never said it should be ignored. I merely said she should stop whinging about it. But good use of the race-card. Calling me racist sure proved you have the moral high ground!

    “….you seem to make the common mistake of assuming that socialism is the same thing as helping the poor and so if one rejects it one does not support helping the poor that’s simply a false equation.”

    Common conclusion. Not mistake. And I actually never mentioned socialism – so who is creating caricatures now? I merely reject your silly Act-inspired utopia.

    Oddly – you argue elsewhere that the government can legitimately wage war (because in doing so it does god’s work) … but you seem to think providing welfare is NOT god’s work – and so the state should not force people to help the poor. Odd god you got there? Who is it exactly?

  • Hi Anonymous,

    “dog-eat-dog pure capitalist world”

    Where is that dog-eat-dog capitalist world?

    Do we need ACC-welfare in order to not be dog-eat-dog society?

  • Anonymous: I suggest if you want to argue that ACC is not insurance, that your time would be better spent editing their Wikipedia page.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accident_Compensation_Corporation

    Perhaps while you’re there you could also look up “racism” and make sure that the definition there is edited to your fancy.
    .-= My last blog-post ..Quote of the Day =-.

  • WOW! If wikipedia said it it must be true!

    But you have missed the point.

    If Madalian had saved up and make good investments, like a good capitalist, she would not be in this mess now. It is her own fault for not working hard enough and saving. She is blaming society when it is completely her responsibility to look after her own financial situation.

    And yeah… racism… good one. That like totally proves everything I said was wrong. Its such a cheap tactic its not worth replying to.

  • Anonymous, you didn’t answer my first question:

    Where is that dog-eat-dog capitalist world you talking about?

  • “It is her own fault for not working hard enough and saving. She is blaming society when it is completely her responsibility to look after her own financial situation.”

    She got hit by a car you idiot!

  • Anon:

    Where is this dog-eat-dog world? Fortunately only in the minds of rabid ACT supporters at the moment.

    Yes – I know she was hit by a car. But you are always responsible for your own situation. If you find yourself in poverty there is no use in blaming someone else. Unless you are a socialist you should realize this. She should have saved to prepare for this situation. She could have invested in a business, or purchased rental property to support herself. It is no ones fault but her own that she is in financial difficulty now. To blame society is just a communistic cop out.

  • […] fight even for the small amount of compensation they do get. Madeleine at M&M tells her tale of the joys of ACC compensation. Multiply her tale around the country by thousands and you have a picture, not of generous benefits […]

  • “Where is this dog-eat-dog world? Fortunately only in the minds of rabid ACT supporters at the moment.”

    So you got no real world example?

    “To blame society is just a communistic cop out.”

    Did you read the article or just the title?

    I’m just an illiterate peasant (by comparison, not literal) but even I could understand that this is not what she is saying in this article.

  • “So you got no real world example?”

    I already answered that didn’t I? As I already said: No. Fortunately this experiment has not been put into play completely. I guess the closest would be during the industrial revolution, before workers organized and clawed some power. And for those supporters of private companies running things unfettered by the government, no minimum wage, etc ,etc… go look at the living conditions in London, and the working conditions in the dark, satanic mills in the early 1800s.

    I think Anon – that by now you should realize that every person is to blame for their own situation. A child who has no shoes, for instance, is only in that state because they have not got off their lazy behind and got a job to pay for new shoes. It is socialist era laws about child labor which in fact cause child poverty. If 5 year olds were allowed to work then there would be no hungry children in New Zealand. It is just common sense, and only the PC brigade of whacky leftists stop a reform of labor laws which would bring about real wealth.

    Similarly pensions are what cause poverty among the elderly. If there was no retirement age, and no minimum wage, there would be ample work for everyone to work well into their 80s or 90s. There is no reason that we should be forced to pay for lazy 90 year olds to sit on their behinds when they could be doing an honest days work.

    And let’s not forget the so called “disabled” (a socialist term used to create a cushy lifestyle for the lazy and immoral). There are many industries that the mentally “handicapped” could be utilized in. If sensible laws came in that allowed 3 year olds to work, there is no reason that adults with the mental age of a 3 year old should not also be required to earn their way. And even the severely physically disabled should not be allowed to sponge off the tax payer – paralyzed people could be used as insulation in buildings, or as cheap forms of heating for instance. We should never be forced to support these parasites who sponge off the rest of us as they wave their commie flags and chant the Internationale in their monotonous retarded voices. Its just common sense, Anyone who uses a little logic would arrive at the same conclusion.

  • I think you really need to read the article and not just rant of your head. Write a blog for yourself, don’t rant on someone else’s blog.

  • Hi Matt & mad
    Really sorry to hear your story-I can totally understand as I to are being treated like this by acc after a work accident that has damaged my spine,& I need some disc’s removed & a fusion done,of which acc refused to pay for,saying it is due to old age.I had never ever had a prob before my accident & have had & are having nothing but problems since.

    It’s amazing how some people don’t get that we are & have been paying in advance to have this expected cover.

    Some people will never be persuaded to see sense-untill they have had the experience & can view things from a claiments perspective.

    Hopefully ,this move to open up the work acc by the Govt will provide a higher level of care for claiments due to competition,& the lack of cosy relationships with medical providers that acc enjoy at the moment.

    I see someone mentioned the Alexander technique,which is a close relative to Bowen therapy.I agree it would be worth you looking into these therapies,as I am trained in Bowen & have seen it be of much assistance to injured people.
    In my own case though it hasn’t helped much.as my dsc’s are in a weakened state & if stressed continue to rupture.I have had many Bowen sessions,but only an improvement in comfort has been achieved.
    However i understand that for people in our position,even an increase in comfort can be a huge plus.
    I wish you all the best with your recovery,& may jesus bless you with his peace,comfort,&wisdom & healing asap.
    I truely understand all of your frustrations,& know how terribly hard this is for anyone to have to go through,Kudos to your family for all of thier loving & support.
    I am on my own,& don’t have that comfort,& I assure you it makes it all the harder.–God bless all of you–Mike.

  • Mike,

    The Alexander Technique is in no way similar to Bowen. As far as I can tell, Bowen is advertised as “vibrational medicine”. But the AT is not vibrational nor is it considered medicine or even therapy.

    It instead teaches students to have more conscious control of normally subconscious postural patterns. This can have the result of removing tension patterns that the person may have been completely unaware of that make it difficult to recover from injuries. Of course, with some injuries you can never really recover from them, you can only manage them, and the AT allows a person to be able to do that – if they spend time thinking about what they are doing, how they are sitting, how they are moving, etc.

    When I trained as a teacher of the AT (3 year, full time training course), one of my co-students was a man who had had two spinal fusions due to car accidents. The AT was the only thing that allowed him to function in every day life without crippling pain – but it wasn’t a cure.
    .-= My last blog-post ..Pope Makes Offer To Accept Anglicans Into Catholic Church =-.

  • Ok,sorry,I had it confused with something else.
    Your right ,they seem vastly different.
    Bowen is a gentle hands on manipulative therapy-very gentle.
    The gentle manipulation tiggers the bodies nervous system to signal the body to self repair-No mind /thought controll involved.But very effective in many instances,but not funded by acc,so quite expenses if you are in auckland-but then what isn’t in Auckland,lol.
    In Hamilton sessions are between 35.00 —50.00 each.
    In Auckland I believe they are double that.
    Anyway,best of luck & regardless what you try,I hope it improves your comfort immensely.—Mike.

  • This is a really informative post. It’s amazing that people as ignorant as the anonymous poster exist in New Zealand, oblivious to reason and blinded by hate.
    It is appalling that the person who negligently hit you with their car gets away scott-free. The wrongdoer would have been liable to pay for the cost of damage to your car, but not the cost of damage to your person. To me, this seems a very twisted system of priorities.
    I just wish I’d read this post 12 hours ago, it would have helped so much on my torts exam!

  • “Yes – I know she was hit by a car. But you are always responsible for your own situation.”

    Even the situation of having been hit by a car?
    .-= My last blog-post ..On the provocation defence: politicans are not lawyers, and it shows =-.

  • Callum where are you studying where you have law exams already?

    It was last day of lectures at Auckland today. Exams are a good week away.

    I loved Torts, it is an area of law that is old and finely honed and with some glaring exceptions like ACC a lot of it is untouched by statute.
    .-= My last blog-post ..Guest Post: Dan Brown’s History of Science =-.

  • Christian bloggers of NZ to the World, I am getting no love from the com [luv], stalin it! However, I come with a post that deserves your dissemination, so I will cut to the paste.

    Plagiarism to fill your boots with!

    Seriously, let’s do something! Go hear, and cut and paste to your blog, or write your own!

    Synchronize watches…

    Support Matt Flanagan Go Missional in New Zealand! Why? Because It Is the Right Thing To Do!

  • Madeleine on ACC…

    Cactus told me Madeleine wasn’t at all as she expected and actually enjoyed her company. Now for those who know Cactus that is VERY difficult to achieve. Now onto Madeleine’s very good post…As it is now ACC is merely another welfare department doing …

  • “Actually its very simple, compensation is supposed to be proportionate to the injury and loss occurred. (thats what the word compensate means) that what justice requires that offenders compensate their victims losses.”

    This makes little to no sense in a modern society. Two of the most common causes of injury are workplace accidents and auto accidents. Most people can’t afford to pay compensation to others and so pool risk in insurance schemes. So in the end it is not offenders who compensate victims’ losses, but all persons who pay into the insurance fund that compensates the victims.

    Risk pooling has obvious advantages, which everyone pretty much knows about. But a side effect of increased risk pooling is that talk of individual responsibility for compensation becomes increasingly meaningless. Of course there is going to be moral hazard generated by any form of insurance scheme, and it turns out that our society has pretty much accepted to bear the costs of moral hazard rather than bear the efficiency loss of abandoning risk pooling. But once we accept the costs of moral hazard we have abandoned a strict code of personal responsibility in favour of a more practical attitude. This is the case whether it is private insurance or public insurance, or state mandated purchase of private insurance (as is the case with auto insurance in some states).

    Unless you want to completely abandon the practice of risk pooling (and only a lunatic would want to do that), you’ll have to abandon the old moral model of dealing with personal injuries.

    And I’m puzzled why people think ACC isn’t a form of welfare. There’s no relevant difference between it and many other forms of welfare payment. The dole is for many people just unemployment insurance (it’s called that in other countries), and in the case of people who have been made redundant and cannot find work, they are in pretty much the same position as Madeleine, because it wasn’t their fault that they were made redundant and cannot find work.

    Similarly, many long term unemployed people cannot find work because our governments deliberately run policies that prevent full employment.

    Lastly, what about those people thrown out of work by the current recession? Is it their fault that Americans were buying houses that they couldn’t afford, or that foreign investment banks were creating financial products that did not adequately reflect the real risks of default? Of course not.

  • The ignorance of some posters here about ACC is breath-taking – especially “L” and “Anonymous”.

    Madeleine is perfectly entitled to receive 80% of her pre-accident earnings based upon the levies she has paid according to her income. That is a % of what she has lost if she is unable to earn because of an injury.

    When you pay ACC levies, you pay premiums on an annual basis according to the level of income you are protecting up to a maximum level. That is why – when you are injured you get a % of your income – 80% in fact. If you’re not earning you will receive the minimal level.

    It is no different if you have private income protection insurance. Whilst these policies vary a bit generally they are either 75% of pre-accident earnings, which are taxable (indemnity), or 55% of pre-accident earnings, which tend not to be taxable (agreed value).

    In effect there is no different between ACC and private insurers in income prortection, it’s just that private schemes have a few more options in terms of stand-down periods, length of cover, total vs partial disability, own versus any occupation, etc.

    Certainly insurance, as ACC is, for those on the earnings account, is NOT welfare. It is a mandatory business expense, to insure yourself against potential loss, just like you’d insure your car, your house, your possessions. In fact your income is your most valuable asset that nees to be protected. How could anyone getting a pay out on a car as a result of being written off in an accident from an insurance company be considered a welfare recipient? Or someone who’s house burn down, got a payout for the house and contents? They couldn’t. So all of you who think Madeleine is on welfare are full of shit. She protected her earnings, in the unfortunate event of an injury, and she is now giving the cover that she paid for.

  • “And I’m puzzled why people think ACC isn’t a form of welfare.”

    I think Madeleine is saying that ACC shouldn’t operate as a form of welfare which is what seems to be happening now in NZ. Of course as it is now, ACC is more like welfare than insurance.

  • “Certainly insurance, as ACC is, for those on the earnings account, is NOT welfare. It is a mandatory business expense, to insure yourself against potential loss, just like you’d insure your car, your house, your possessions.”

    Comical.

    Welfare is a form of insurance in most cases (although not all), because a welfare system is in large part a form of risk pooling. We pay tax to insure ourselves should we need medical care. We pay tax so that should we find that ourselves or our loved ones cannot support themselves, we or they can receive a basic level of support. It’s just a form of compulsory insurance (a mandatory expense) like the others. That’s just what welfare is in most cases. That’s why the dole is often called “unemployment insurance”, because that is what it is.

    It takes a peculiarly strong form of ignorance about our society not to be able to understand that.

  • L:

    Perfectly correct. Thank you for cutting through the nonsense.

  • I’m at Otago doing third year law. Insurance law exam is on Saturday, maybe this article can inspire me to write well in that.

  • I don’t see that the problem is with what ACC is, or should be. It’s that, from Madeleine’s account, it claims to be something it’s not.

    I don’t have any real problem with ACC being a state-owned corporation set up to provide all and sundry with a “base level”. I would hesitate, though, to call that “compensation”; that, to me, stretches the definition of the word beyond breaking point.

    And I especially don’t like a situation where the Government, through ACC, offers its level of so-called “compensation” and then, through the Injury Prevention etc. Act (or whatever the hang it’s called these days), says to the public, “You shall be content with whatever meagre offerings the State sees fit to give you.” Sorry, you can’t have it both ways. If it’s meant to be welfare, they could at least allow people to lawfully plug the gap through private insurance and civil actions. If it’s meant to be a comprehensive insurance scheme, it should jolly well behave like it.

    And yes, I know that income protection provides the most benefit to those who are on a high income (though it would also cost them more in premiums); and I also know that suing to recover costs is only an option if the tortfeasor (sp.?) actually has enough assets (or liability insurance of his own) that he doesn’t just declare bankruptcy after paying you $1000. So, yes, some people will find themselves getting not much anyway. But do you really mean to say, “Some people’s lives suck, therefore everyone’s life should suck”?
    .-= My last blog-post ..On healthcare reform and ACC =-.

  • Do you think we could get companies to do divorve insurance to cover the economic loss thst is suffered after divorcing a high income earner and having to go back to a career that you let stagnate to stay at home and raise children, taking into account that your ex spouse turned out to be a cheat and a liar through no fault of your own

  • Divorce insurance might be one solution, restoring fault to divorce might be another.

  • Hi Madeleine

    I’ve recently started reading your blog. I appreciate your reasoned and insightful posts. I had no idea how tough your life is.

    I know many will laugh at this, but I will pray for your and your family.

    Rudy

  • Catalyst Conference My Thoughts on Where I Would Like to See Matt Flanagan Used in a New Zealand Context… not forgetting “the Glenn of the Peoples.”…

    it is an area that I see in our New Zealand context that needs the voice crying in the Westiness… Matt lives in West Auckland, after all, … I am Jonny King would love to see a Christian Manifesto move back into the public square of New Zealand, affir…

  • Man of Spin: My Thoughts on Where I Would Like to See Matt Flanagan Used in a New Zealand Context… not forgetting “the Glenn of the Peoples.”…

    I am Jonny King has posted again on this subject matter!

    I am not sure how or if this will fly, if this will, particularly, ignite the imagination of the Christian Blogosphere, where MandM have and are having a particular impact and who occupy a pro…

  • “And I especially don’t like a situation where the Government, through ACC, offers its level of so-called “compensation” and then, through the Injury Prevention etc. Act (or whatever the hang it’s called these days), says to the public, “You shall be content with whatever meagre offerings the State sees fit to give you.” Sorry, you can’t have it both ways. If it’s meant to be welfare, they could at least allow people to lawfully plug the gap through private insurance and civil actions. If it’s meant to be a comprehensive insurance scheme, it should jolly well behave like it.”

    Good point. However, this is a political problem. People want lower taxes and better forms of social insurance at the same time. Ever was it so.

    I would be very wary of moving to an American style system of litigation. That just strikes me as funneling money to lawyers who would serve society better by doing something more productive.

  • L,

    “Good point. However, this is a political problem. People want lower taxes and better forms of social insurance at the same time. Ever was it so.”

    Of course. And we witnessed the storm of indignation when the Government dared to say *they* can’t have it both ways. I’m a big fan of honesty, and of realistic expectations, which means I’ll probably never be in a position to do anything about any of this.

    “I would be very wary of moving to an American style system of litigation. That just strikes me as funneling money to lawyers who would serve society better by doing something more productive.”

    Living in the US now, I’m not sure it’s as much of a problem as we might be led to believe. But I’m open to correction. In any case, there are two questions for me.

    The first is how to restore an innocent victim to the condition he would have been in, had the accident not occurred (or, at least, as near to that condition as reasonably possible). That should be priority #1. If ACC can do a good job of that, in a financially sustainable way, great. If not, the scheme should be substantially changed, if not indeed wound up; and the people should in any case be made aware of just what ACC can and can’t do.

    The second is how to oblige causers of accidents to take steps towards setting things to rights; and, maybe, teaching them that recklessness with others’ safety is not acceptable, and encouraging them to be more careful in future. This is where I would see value in “suing as an option”. Not, I’ll stress, as the only way to get compensation; that would be done better through insurance (whether ACC or private). Most of the time, I guess it wouldn’t be worth suing anyway. I just don’t like the thought of people thinking they can be dangerous because “ACC will take care of it”.
    .-= My last blog-post ..On healthcare reform and ACC =-.

  • […] Original post: Comment on My Story: Lousy ACC Cover and Thoughts on the Proposed … […]

  • The issues you raise can sadly be joined to an untold number of victims of ACC abuses sustained by innocent Kiwi’s since it’s inception on April fools day 1974.
    There is a very interesting read, which can be found with a big G search, when entering ” Trapski Report” by Peter j. Trapski C.B.E. who was engaged to report his findings to Government on the interpretations & implementation of law as set out within the original founding document which was the basis upon which ACC was founded.
    I am just another person such as yourself who has many years experience of ACC failure after sustaining permanent disability through medical misadventure after a work place accident.
    If would make one additional statement to all the above… It would be… The catch phrase with ACC that has been touted since it’s inception is “No Fault Cover”
    Well… Some of us now know differently !

  • i strained my lower back, had knee surgery from an injury that left me with a knee that gives out and a right arm injury

    the acc christchurch assessor told acc that he thought i had the capacity to work 35 hors a week and one of the jobs was in day care for children?

    I worked and lasted for 16 weeks withgreat pain when my arm injury packed up and I coule not move my arm

    i ended up with a left shoulder injury, and tears to both my wrist while struggling with my back, knee and left arm to which it is dangerous for me to have surgery as i have blood cancer which the assessor knew about at the time of assessment and the risk of infection for me is higher

    I have never been off work or sick with the leukemia

    I am happy to name the assessor

    i can no longer pick up or push on a swing my grandchildren

  • That’s Nationals plan, to frustrate legitimate claimants, so the every day kiwi gets so frustrated with the ACC system, making privatization look like a good option.

    It’s Nick Smiths plan!

    I feel sorry for you, but they are not just doing it to you. ACC is ripping a lot of claimants off at the moment!

    including myself!

  • Mri Images Neck…

    Images for Mri Images Neck… Below MRI scan of my neck….

  • I have a friend who has appealed three times to the decline discussion from Acc, going back to 1995, It has just gone to Court and he has won his case,But Acc have 28days to appeal that so my fingers are crossed for him.
    Just not fair you have to be in so much pain.

    Best wishes
    Kathy

  • Of course accident compensation should be private. Regardless of how unfair something is, that does not give someone the right to take money from other people without their permission. People in accidents will either have insurance, or they can ask for charity.