The Dim-Post

August 23, 2012

Speaking of ACC

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 3:18 pm

A while ago I OIA’d ACC for historical data on how many of their weekly compensation claimants transferred onto welfare. They got back to me last week. Here’s what happened when National came to power in late 2008.

They moved thousands of people onto the sickness benefit while railing about the runaway cost of the sickness benefit.

Looks like they stopped recording this data after 2010.


  1. They’re obviously too busy addressing sickness benefit dependency to measure it.

    Comment by James Butler (@j20r) — August 23, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

  2. What does the Y axis on the left represent? Are those numbers the percentage of all people who receive weekly ACC payments?

    Comment by Ataahua — August 23, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

  3. Sorry ’bout that – added in axis titles.

    Comment by danylmc — August 23, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

  4. To be fair, thousands were going onto the sickness benefit before National were in government…further, the vast majority of ACC claimants are NOT going onto the sickness benefit.

    Comment by Ross — August 23, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

  5. They moved thousands of people onto the sickness benefit while railing about the runaway cost of the sickness benefit.

    A creative government would have counterbalanced this by chucking others off the sickness benefit and telling them they’re unemployed now, or sending 50,000 of them a year to Australia.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 23, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

  6. Hey! A graph! With 5 colours!

    You DO listen!!!

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — August 23, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

  7. Another reason sickness benefit numbers have tended to increase over the past decade is related to the increase in the age of eligibility for superannuation from 60 to 65. Not everybody is fit to work into their 60s.

    Comment by Karen — August 23, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

  8. What Ross said – the rise in ACC-welfare transfers started in 2006 at the start of the Global Financial Crisis at the end of Labour’s term in power, and continued under National at a slightly faster rate, which seems to match the deepening of the crisis rather than any specific measure National took. It is very dodgy of National to stop collecting data though, as this does let them hide their failure to address the rise in transfers. After all, surely we can hope for a government that actively tackles problems, rather than one that just does not cause or exacerbate systemic problems in our capitalist economic system?

    Comment by bob — August 23, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

  9. “cause or exacerbate systemic problems in our capitalist economic system”

    Like paying people to sit on their arse all day bobbie?

    Comment by Tim — August 23, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

  10. “They moved thousands of people onto the sickness benefit while railing about the runaway cost of the sickness benefit.”

    What, ACC has been railing about the cost of the sickness benefit?

    Comment by Swan — August 23, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

  11. Of course it is possible that it’s the state of the Labour market rather than how sick they are which determines the proportion of ACC claimants moving onto the sickness benefit. The unemployment rate went from a little under 4% to a little over 6% in the same time period:
    If I was discharged from ACC after recovery from my injury or accident and I couldn’t find work I would want to get the Sickness Benefit rather than the Unemployment Benefit as I’m fairly sure it pays better and has fewer conditions. It’d be easy enough to get a doctor to support that if I’d just come off ACC.
    At the end of the day ACC doesn’t have a lot of control over whether people choose to hire folks who have just come off ACC. If the hypothesis is that the government is actively managing people off the ACC books and onto the sickness benefit (to save money?) then I would look at the average time that people are spending on ACC. If the average time on ACC has dropped dramatically (in the absence of dramatic improvements in medical treatments) then I would say that’s an indicator of a campaign to actively manage people off the books.

    Comment by Richard29 — August 24, 2012 @ 11:38 am

  12. Aha: New Zealand’s own hockey stick graph!

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 24, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

  13. I don’t think the increased age of superannuation from 60 to 65 has anything to do with increased ACC claimants transferring onto sickness benefits from 2008 onwards, because that increase in the age of superannuation happened quite a while back now and so if there was a correlation between the two, the statistics would have jumped higher, sooner, and more gradually. The big jump we have seen since National got into power can only be blamed on National, nothing else.

    Comment by Dan — August 24, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

  14. I get the sense that a lot of the people who are transferred from ACC to the sickness benefit are people who have alcohol or drug dependency issues – sometimes as a result of their injury, but often not. ACC is not well equipped, nor has the legislative mandate to rehabilitate people with these issues, but had kept them on the scheme in the ‘too hard basket’ until relatively recently.

    Comment by Plum — August 24, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

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