Crusher Collins won't fix it | The Jackal

14 Jun 2012

Crusher Collins won't fix it

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

ACC Minister Judith Collins said Mr Stewart told her on Tuesday "he felt it was time for him to move on".

She said she felt sorry for Mr Stewart. "He's had a tough time."

Greens ACC spokesman Kevin Hague said Mr Stewart's resignation cleared the way for Mrs Collins to lead the process for refreshing ACC by steering it away from what he and others claim has been a focus on denying claims to save money and bringing it back to the principles on which it was founded.

"We need to reverse this culture of disentitlement that's taken hold since 2009 and with those key players - [former ACC minister] Nick Smith, John Judge and Ralph Stewart - gone we've got the environment to do that."

Mr Hague said there were serious questions Mrs Collins needed to answer about her role in the Bronwyn Pullar affair.

But Labour's ACC spokesman, Andrew Little, said Mrs Collins should be the next to go as Mr Stewart's resignation confirmed the depth of the crisis.

"It is an absolute disgrace, and it is entirely the responsibility of that Government'', he told the House, and accused Mrs Collins and Dr Smith as her predecessor of driving ACC "into the ground".

Mr Little said ACC now needed a minister who was focused on the needs of ACC claimants rather than on the Government's "tawdry, nasty, filthy little strategy of trying to fleece people and get people to lose their entitlements".

Mrs Collins said it was time for a culture change at ACC but her concerns were about treatment of claimants and their privacy.

Collins has previously inferred that it was OK to automatically decline long-term claimants because there are other ways they can get help. I guess she was talking about WINZ, who have no rehabilitative capability for people who are injured.

What this is all about was some terrible ACC investments that went belly-up and instead of the government stepping in to meet the shortfall, ACC just started penny pinching from people who could least afford it.

Although Bronwyn Pullar is an exception to the rule, injured claimants are usually incapable of fighting back against ACC with its multitude of lawyers and corrupt specialists, that will pretty much do anything to decline people's entitlements.

Now that ACC is posting huge profits (around $3.5 billion in the year to date), National should return ACC to what it was meant to be. Sure, there are some people who rort the system, but this is not a good enough reason to tar everybody with the same brush.