Nick the prick

This is really just appallingly outrageous from ACC Minister Nick Smith.

“If my doctor told me that I was terminally ill and I had 30 days to live, with the ACC rules the way they are, I’d be finding myself a train to throw myself under on the 29th day because my family would be treated so much more generously,” he said.

Smith has subsequently (under orders from John Key, presumably) offered an apology. But this is a Minister out of control.

How can John Key have confidence for Smith to hold the ACC portfolio when Smith says that, if terminally ill, he would throw himself under a train to get his family ACC entitlements? This is Cabinet Minsiter admitting that he would himself rip off ACC.

The reality is that National is proposing to disallow any entitlement to the families of suicide victims – even though their mental state was so deranged that they had no rational perception of what was happening in reality when their lives ended.

That stinks, and is discriminatory in terms of the Bill of Rights Act (i.e discrimination on the grounds of disability).

If Smith’s vile Bill can eventually get the numbers to be introduced to Parliament (and frogblog and The Standard suggest there is a problem there), then I would hope Attorney-General Chris Finlayson will report, as is statutory duty, that it is in breach of the Bill of Rights Act.

But, given that he is a senior National Party Minister, who knows whether he will follow the path of integrity, or Nick Smith’s path of lies, obfuscation, and duplicity.

A challenge for Chris Finlayson, who is one of the few National MPs I still have much respect for.

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8 thoughts on “Nick the prick

  1. His so called apology is nothing of the kind. What a vile man. Remember the censure Turia got for her holocaust comments? She was made to resign.

    One law for Maori, another for right-wing white men.

    The media in NZ is completely shit on this issue as well. Sigh.

  2. “The reality is that National is proposing to disallow any entitlement to the families of suicide victims – even though their mental state was so deranged that they had no rational perception of what was happening in reality when their lives ended”

    Although I have zero time for Nick Smith, and think this outburst is indeed “intemperate” – I actually agree with the principle behind this. The deterioration in mental state you refer to may be gradual, in which case it’s hard to see how it fits any definition of “accident”.

    ACC is a great thing: it needs to be defended vigorously against the Nats determined attempts to privatise by deception – but it also may need a bit of a tune-up, to ensure we have the right things being covered. Suicide compo is a bit odd, certainly.

    I’d also favour limiting the extortionate fees charged by specialists to ACC, although this is a bit harder to implement.

  3. George Darroch said: The media in NZ is completely shit on this issue as well. Sigh.

    Yes, sadly so. Most of them just parrot media releases from rhe Governent of the day.

    I’ll excuse Duncan Garner from that criticism: – I think he does genuinely attempt to get to the bottom of stories, rather than take what comes out of the Government media releases as gospel.

    But hardly any others do.

  4. Rainman, you don’t get it. That isn’t your fault, because Duncan Garner, Audrey Young, and the rest of the press gallery don’t get it or can’t be bothered to explain it either. I don’t really blame them too much when Labour isn’t exactly feeding them the lines they need (they don’t tend to do that kind of work on their own).

    The ACC is a no fault injury provider. If you have an injury, physical or mental, that happens in an incident (it can’t have happened over time, they’ll happily deny coverage), then you are automatically covered. Everyone is covered. No exceptions. When you introduce exceptions you drive up the cost and complexity, and create more difficulties. “Accident” is just branding.

    These are the Woodhouse Principles, which were behind the ACC.

    How long did it take me to explain that? 60 seconds. It’s not rocket science. But there is no intention to defend these principles. Nick Smith and National are going for the thin end of the wedge. Prisoners, criminals. They will throw them under the bus – they’ll be holding the feet, Labour will hold the hands, and ACT will and cheerlead. From there the principle of universality will be broken, and it will never be got back again (not in the lifetime of current Labour Party members – they’re all a bunch of useless centre-right wimps).

  5. George said: ‘“Accident” is just branding.’

    no, ‘accident’ isn’t just branding. It identifies a very important point (which you acknowledge above’, that the system has always been designed and rigorously enforced to exclude illnesses (which dperession is). This is why rugby injuries are covered but multiple sclerosis isn’t.

  6. Yes, the exclusion of illness is absolute, and this is a problem, particularly on borderline cases (and Labour was remiss not to address this) – but the injuries do not have to have been “accidental”. That’s why you get idiots on Kiwiblog saying – “but a rape is deliberate!”. You also get accidental injuries that happen over time being excluded.

  7. And having accidental injuries that are incurred over time excluded leaves ACC ripe for attack. I told Labour this, but they did nothing about it. You’ll get someone rightly feeling aggrieved because their injury that was not sudden onset is excluded absolutely, while the guy who breaks his legs jumping out of prison is covered. Le sigh.

  8. What a terrible way for Nick Smith to suggest he commit suicide. Doesn’t he care about the mental trauma that would cause the train driver.

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