Sunday, March 27, 2005

Full circle

There was a framed copy of a cheque on the wall of Dad's office. It was a Bank of New Zealand cheque dated 1974 and was made out for around $500,000. The year before ACC began, my father had won a record personal damages suit on behalf of a client. It was a relatively straight-forward case. Someone was negligent. A victim appealed to the court for redress. They got it.

Skip forward to today, and you wonder how much has changed. For starters, everyone pays. Every business and employee pays ACC levies. Every car user pays with petrol and licence ACC levies. These levies go up and down not based solely on claims, but largely due to fluctuations in ACC's investments.

We pay for squadrons of Health and Safety Inspectors to ensure the risk of anything bad happening is minimised, yet bad things continue to happen. Layer upon layer of bureaucratic tissue paper is added and then we wonder why we're so goddamn low in productivity. Even the Greens are bitching about stupid red tape.

ACC, like Inland Revenue, prides itself on Scottish miserliness. Like WINZ staff, the sheer quantity of cash proves too tempting for some ACC workers, namely Jeff Chapman and Gavin Robins. Then lawyers such as John Miller are in court on behalf of clients stonewalled by ACC's reluctance to compensate. Taking ACC to court is a growth industry.

How much has changed? Well, it's the same beginning and ending with a sackload of expensive crap in the middle.