Anything wrong with a VIP list at ACC? It depends on who is on the list, surely

Gotta say it is disquieting, if not downright dismaying, to see the bloody media maintain their mindless assault on the ACC.

Today in the NZ Herald, a new front has been opened up with complaints about the ACC’s policy for handling “VIP claims” and the suggestion it delivers better protection for the privacy of powerful decision-makers, including MPs, judges and ACC board members.

Just why this should be a problem is not immediately apparent to your hard-working MP, who instinctively sees merit in any arrangement that benefits him.

Accordingly he is taking a very dim view of the media giving space to claims about preferential treatment from a Dr Denise Powell, president of Acclaim Otago, a support group for ACC claimants.

This is the sort of thing that gives people the idea there are Class A citizens and Class B citizens, and that the vast majority are Class B citizens, and something should be done about it to create a classless society.

Before you know it, we will be having revolution and bloodshed in the streets or – worse – the return of a Labour government.

Alf accordingly is uneasy when people like Dr Powell point out that if VIPs have an accident, they receive “preferential treatment within ACC”.

If MPs were to drop off the VIP list, fair to say, he might be more relaxed about her disclosures and furthermore he might agree with her and make a fuss about it, claiming it is an outrage.

But where did she get the idea of anyone getting preferential treatment?

Ah. Here’s the answer.

The corporation’s delegation manual stated that these claims were to be handled differently, she said.

“If the service provided by ACC is world leading, why would the manager of the ACC service centre have to handle the VIP claim, rather than the service centre staff?” she asked.

“What is it about ACC’s ‘normal’ service that is insufficient for VIP treatment?”

The answer to that should be evident to anyone who has been reading the Pullar case.

Ms Pullar is not a VIP (although she seems to know more VIPs than Alf does). Accordingly she is being hugely frustrated by the ACC’s handling of her case.

But is there more to the VIP list than the referring of their cases up the chain of command?

Let’s see.

Dr Powell said that while it appeared ACC staff had been instructed to “try everything” to “exit” people from ACC, regardless of whether they had been successfully rehabilitated, “VIP status” seemed to be focused on “insulating those with influence over ACC; those who make the law, interpret the law and oversee its application”.

“By wrapping them in cotton wool, ACC prevents them from being subjected to their ‘try everything’ approach that results in so much heartache to ordinary New Zealanders,” she said.

If the Herald got a simple yes or no reply to its first question when it went to the ACC for comment, it has not given the one-word response to its readers.

To the contrary, we are treated to the convoluted garbage of someone intent on obfuscation.

Some of our Ministers could learn from this for dealing with the Labour tossers at Question Time in the House.

Asked whether its VIP approach amounted to preferential treatment, an ACC spokeswoman said the practice for claims “categorised as VIP on ACC’s registration and claim management systems” followed “the standard allocation and management processes applied to all claims”.

“The only difference being security rights and who can make decisions on the claim,” the spokeswoman said.

VIP claims would be dealt with as with other claims but the final decision would be taken at more senior level, rather than by more junior staff.

She confirmed “security rights” referred to “extra measures to maintain VIP confidentiality”.

But Dr Powell is having none of that and insists this is an anomaly of the sort that should be investigated and explained.

‘The very mechanisms like ACC, that were designed to promote fairness and rehabilitation for everyone, should never have been allowed to be used to give preferential treatment to one group of New Zealanders over another,” she said.

Can’t agree.

Mind you, being bumped off the VIP list wold be apt to occasion a change of opinion.

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