Landmark ACC Code of Claimants' Rights

  • Lianne Dalziel
ACC

Today is the first day of work on the development of New Zealand’s first ACC Code of Claimants’ Rights, ACC Minister Lianne Dalziel said today.

The Code is one of the initiatives to come out of the government’s Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation and Compensation (IPRC) Act 2001, which comes into force on 1 April 2002. The first step towards forming the scope of the Code was a workshop with interest groups, held in Wellington today.

The workshop included claimants’ advocates and support group representatives, Assembly of People with Disabilities (DPA), Brain Injury Association, Council of Trade Unions and representatives of accredited employers (who will also be bound by the Code).

“For the first time, we are introducing a Code to ensure that the concerns raised by ACC claimants are able to be addressed. The workshop is an important part of ensuring that we have input from the very groups who know what claimants’ needs are. ACC is also arranging a number of focus groups to discuss the Code to ensure broad input,” Lianne Dalziel said.

Lianne Dalziel believes that the loss of significant entitlements in 1992, such as lump sum compensation, and the Work Capacity Assessment process, had led to reduced confidence in the ACC scheme under the previous government.

“I believe the new Act will address many of the problems with the previous legislation and while I expect it will reduce the need for this kind of protection, it is important to rebuild confidence in the scheme by establishing this Code.

“This Code will give claimants confidence that their claims will be handled sensitively, appropriately, with dignity, and offer certainty of avenues for redress.”

The Code is still in its developmental stage with public consultation on a draft scheduled for early 2002. Implementation is expected around July/August 2002.