News » Maori and Blue Collar workers disadvantaged by ACC Scheme

Press Release – 23 March 2008:   Maori make up 14% of those who suffer an injury and go onto weekly compensation but only make up 9% of claimants receiving long-term weekly compensation. Is it that Maori rehabilitate faster than other ethnic groups? If so, what is the secret, or is it ACC find this group easier to exit from the scheme?

Statistics are from ACC website “Injury Statistics 2006” (scroll to bottom of the page for the graph showing percentages).
New Weekly Compensation (by ethnicity)
Long-term Weekly Compensation (by ethnicity)

An analysis of the statistics on ACC’s website shows a similar trend for “blue collar” workers v. “white collar” workers. Our experience is head injury claimants are even further disadvantaged. Our conclusion is the ACC system benefits white “white collar” workers the most because this group is more likely to access their entitlements over and above other groups who effectively subsidise the scheme.

A trend we see is many Maori and “blue collar” claimants lacking in computer skills and clerical training and experience are being exited from the scheme because ACC determine they can work 35 hours a week as a “Stock Clerk”, a popular job option put forward by ACC’s assessors. There is possibly an accumulation of thousands of injured claimants receiving a Work and Income benefit because of this.

Even if claimants are aware of what they may be entitled to, or are unhappy with a decision about their claim, how many use the processes available to them to get their rightful entitlements?

Too often claimant advocates find themselves being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

We urge ACC and the political parties to adopt a policy for ACC to make funding available so claimant’s can access their right to representation (under Clause 7, Schedule 1 of the IPRCA 2001) during the planning stage of the claimant’s rehabilitation.

03 548 6962 or 09 281 4558

PO Box 9058, Nelson