Blood on the Coal

Blood on the Coal

Hazel Armstrong, Blood on the Coal: The Origins and Future of New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Scheme, Trade Union History Project, Wellington, 2008. pp. 64. NZ $10.00.

The author of this booklet is a lawyer specialising in employment, accident compensation, and health and safety law. The author’s professional experience has convinced her that a privatised accident compensation system, as proposed by National, would retard claimants’ rehabilitation and weaken injury prevention programmes.

This booklet is intended to help you, the voter, consider the issues affecting our ACC scheme at the next election. It traces the origins of the scheme from the grossly inequitable and cumbersome system which preceded it, when workers were obliged to sue their employers for compensation for workplace injuries, into a system based on principles of fairness for all and shared community responsibility. It outlines how, the proposed privatisation of personal injury insurance would be detrimental to claimants and to society in general. The book argues that certain aspects of the current scheme, dealing with the full rehabilitation of accident victims, are not working as effectively and fairly as they should. Finally, the author provide a list of questions to ask of your election candidates, to help make ACC an election issue and to guide you in voting for its future.