Should ACC cover sickness too? | IMPAC health and safety

16 November, 2018  |  News

Sir Geoffrey Palmer has stated that the Accident Compensation Corporation shouldn’t just cover people incapacitated by accidents – it should cover sickness and disability too.

The former prime minister spoke at Victoria University about how the line between injuries and other medical issues could be difficult and unfair.


rawpixel 665349 unsplashSir Geoffrey Palmer has called for ACC to also cover sickness. Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash.


As Stuff reported, Sir Palmer said that a “single unified system” would end unjust discrimination and that someone "laid low by cancer, a heart attack or stroke" is treated much less generously than someone suffering an accidental injury that results in the same incapacity. 

It's not the first time this issue has been raised

2016 briefing paper from Grant Duncan, a Massey University Associate Professor, called for the same thing. As he pointed out, “if you are unlucky enough to be severely disabled due to a congenital disorder, or due to a chronic illness that was not caused in employment, then you are not covered by ACC.”

Duncan thinks that instead of wasting time in litigation over who is to blame or who should pay for the personal injury, “we should support the injured, and return them to work and other normal activities as soon as we can.”

He concludes by calling for us to re-think our approach to disability and shift sickness-related disability out of the MSD model and into ACC cover.

According to Stuff, ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway didn’t rule out Palmer's proposal but warned it would represent a fundamental change to ACC's purpose and would require "considerable public debate" and "total political consensus".