Accident Compensation Amendment Bill –  First Reading – Video 1
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Accident Compensation Amendment Bill – First Reading – Video 1

engine it may well be a nuclear moment for this country things expired I call our government order of the day number one accident compensation amendment bill first reading mr. speaker the Honorable Ian lead galloway Thank You mr. speaker I move that the accident compensation amendment bill be now read a first time I nominate the education and work force committee to consider the bill mr. speaker New Zealand’s no fault accident Compensation Scheme is a national treasure and the envy of many other countries overwhelmingly people who are injured receive an excellent service from ACC in terms of their treatment and their rehabilitation this government is committed to ensuring that the excellent compensation scheme remains fair transparent and accessible for all claimants for the most part these changes are at the boundaries of the system rather than at the core I’ve asked officials to take a careful look at ways to improve the scheme with the intention to bring a substantive bill to the house late this year or early next year while policy work on that broader package is underway a pressing issue that needs to be addressed immediately has arisen and I’ve taken the opportunity at the same time to make a series of other useful changes the cumulative effect of these changes is to make the scheme fairer and kinder to groups on the margin of coverage this bill addresses a gap in ACC coverage for families of employees who are posted overseas in the course of their employment I believe this is an important change to make as we do not want to discourage people from representing New Zealand’s interests offshore if they feel that they cannot keep their families together without risk employees who represent New Zealand and both our public affairs and private industry contribute a range of benefits to New Zealand’s economy and international relations it is reasonable for employees and their family to be living together overseas while they carry out their employment duties if these families family members were in New Zealand and had an accident they would receive full entitlements for any injuries this is a return to how the issue was dealt with under previous acts and would return the spirit of those provisions to capture family units and dependents the act was amended rather mysteriously in 1998 and there is no intact legislative record behind the reason for the change the agencies working overseas are concerned that this gap may be a hurdle to filling overseas placements I propose that these amendments should be retrospective to the date of the previous change while there is a presumption that retrospective legislation should be avoided the presumption does not apply in the same way whereas here a benefit is being provided rather than a right removed the Attorney General is comfortable with the retrospective ‘ti of this proposal an ACC is best deal best placed to deal with any historic claims this amendment applies to the existing coverage extension for a small group of people posted overseas the existing cover does not include people who choose to a work remotely offshore for lifestyle or convenience reasons or are participating in volunteer service abroad programs I do not consider that there is a strong rationale for extending this scheme beyond New Zealand employees and this approach aligns with the core principles of ACC as a replacement for the right to sue and an injury safety net in New Zealand this bill also makes a number of other changes it amends the interface between weekly compensation and superannuation to provide for fairer transitions for those people who are injured near to retirement age this means that people will be able to receive up to two years of weekly compensation and superannuation before transitioning on to superannuation it is important to remember that treatment and rehabilitation does not cease based on age this will provide a fairer more consistent relationship between weekly compensation and superannuation to provide for fairer transitions for those people who are injured near retirement age the the amendments to the interface between weekly compensation and superannuation aligned with our commitment to review the restrictions on super annuitants being able to receive both weekly compensation and New Zealand super 8 superannuation given the change changing nature of work for the over 65 workforce one of the amendments relating to this interface addresses the declaration of inconsistency by the Human Rights Review Tribunal that the requirement to elect between compensation and superannuation was discriminatory on the basis of age I’m pleased to be introducing an amendment that responds positively to this declaration this amendment will mean that a client’s entitlement to weekly compensation as a surviving spouse or partner will no longer be affected by whether they are also receiving weekly compensation most surviving spouses or partners including those of superannuation qualification age or older will be entitled to a maximum of five years of weekly compensation based on their deceased spouse or partner’s earnings at the time of the fatal injury this will ensure a consistency and fairness between the entitlements received by surviving spouses regardless of age this bill dis establishes the historic accident compensation appeal Authority as maintaining a separate Authority is no longer cost effective or efficient given the low number of Appeals to the authority this amendment is in line with this government’s intentions to remove the complexity and cost that sometimes arises as to whether the authority or the district court should hear an appeal following the disestablishment of the authority all new appeals will be under the repealed ex will be heard by the district court this will ensure that claimants rights are maintained I’ve also included in the bill some minor and technical amendments that will increase a cc’s operational efficiency and improve the workability of biennial levy rounds it is important that we take these opportunities for regulatory maintenance to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of regulatory systems in the future as a final point Mr Speaker I would like to acknowledge the work of the Honorable Michael Woodhouse as the previous minister of ACCC many of the policy proposals in this bill were developed and worked under his watch as Minister they are a good start to the direction of travel that I plan for the scheme I look forward to the discussion of these important matters and I encourage people to consider submitting their views about the bill through the education and Workforce Select Committee I commend this bill to the House questioners of the motion be agreed to mr. McDuff Thank You mr. speaker and may I begin

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