Government delivers ACC change to support 28,000 parents

  • The Maternal Birth Injury and Other Matters Bill passes Third Reading – the first amendment to ACC legislation of its kind
  • From 1 October 2022, new ACC cover to benefit approximately 28,000 birthing parents
  • Additional maternal birth injuries added alongside new review provision to ensure cover remains comprehensive
  • Greater clarity for claimants and health professionals

Nearly 50 years since ACC legislation was first passed in the House and just less than a year after we announced our intention to introduce legislation, birthing parents who are injured during childbirth will be covered by ACC.

“This is an incredibly important day for birthing parents, with the passage of this Bill representing a significant step towards improving gender balance, fairness and equity in the Accident Compensation Scheme,” Minister for ACC Carmel Sepuloni said.

“On 28 September 2021, I announced that we would be amending ACC legislation to cover more injuries experienced by women during childbirth. Less than a year later, we’ve taken action to deliver a change that’ll benefit an estimated 28,000 birthing parents per year,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“This followed on from an article I read about the growing number of women experiencing injuries when giving birth, and their struggle for treatment. It was a distressing read, but I instantly knew that this was something that needed to change.

“More than 70 per cent of people giving birth in Aotearoa New Zealand may experience an injury during labour or birth. It’s fair that these injuries, some of which can be severe, are covered by ACC.

“That’s why we’ve taken steps to ensure birth injuries are covered, making changes to the legislation and including a list of covered injuries. The list includes all injuries that result from the birthing process – from onset of labour through to the baby being delivered,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

As is normal under ACC, follow-on injuries directly related to those listed will also be covered, including mental injuries caused by physical injuries. Other injuries which are caused by those listed will be covered by ACC, therefore birthing parents have no need to worry about further complications from a covered injury.

As a commitment to providing comprehensive cover, the list of injuries will now be regularly reviewed after it is implemented to make sure no birthing parent is missing out.

Including cover for these injuries will mean birthing parents can access existing support and treatment available through the AC Scheme, including support for mental injuries that are caused by physical injuries.

“The Select Committee’s consideration of the Bill has proved to be an invaluable step in this process and provided the opportunity for the list of additional injuries to be thoroughly tested,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“I want to thank the Committee and stakeholders for their extensive work, which has helped to ensure the list of injuries is comprehensive, and for all those who have submitted on the Maternal Birth Injury and Other Matters Bill – you have made the difference.

“The Government is laying the foundations for a better future by improving equity and health outcomes for women through amending ACC legislation, including taking steps to modernise ACC and make support more accessible to New Zealanders who need it,” Carmel Sepuloni said.