New push for ACC to cover all disability

A Dunedin barrister and researcher is leading a new charge for ACC to be revamped so it covers all disabilities, and doesn’t discriminate based on cause.

Warren Forster has been awarded the 2017 New Zealand Law Foundation International Research Fellowship, to look at how we can move ACC beyond just accident coverage.

He will develop recommendations for a disability system that’s focused on support and empowerment for people in need – rather than shifting costs within the health system.

“This is an opportunity to develop an idea to completely transform people’s experience with disability in New Zealand,” Forster says.

It comes 50 years after Sir Owen Woodhouse’s report which paved the way for ACC. Sir Owen always imagined a system which covered all illnesses and injuries, and didn’t discriminate based on cause.

“We’ve now got the opportunity to make the integrated world leading disability system that he envisaged,” Forster says.

“Sir Owen foresaw the problems that we see now when we discriminate based on cause of disability. People’s experiences in both ACC and the disability system need to be improved.”