Dunedin ACC campaigner Dr Denise Powell feels ''great''
satisfaction that a United Nations committee is raising with
the Government several disability-related issues highlighted
by Otago ACC claimants.
It was ''surrealistic'' that an ACC claimant support group,
Acclaim Otago, with almost no funds had produced a
well-researched report that had been ''taken seriously'' by
the UN committee, Dr Powell said.
The UN committee responsible for the Convention on the Rights
of Persons with Disabilities had recently formally raised
access to justice and other issues with the New Zealand
That committee had earlier considered a report submitted by
Acclaim Otago, prepared with the ''generous'' support of an
$8650 shadow report grant from the New Zealand Law
Foundation, Dr Powell said.
Such ''shadow'' reports are often produced by community
groups, rather than by government agencies.
The UN committee of disability experts met in Geneva last
week for a pre-sessional working group and another report
from a New Zealand disabilities organisation had also been
The committee had prepared a list of issues which would form
the basis of its examination, in September, of New Zealand's
compliance with the convention.
The UN group had selected the most pressing issues around
access to justice from the Otago report and the Government
now had to prepare a detailed response.
The committee had asked the Government to explain ''whether
New Zealand law provides access to justice'' for people with
disabilities engaged in the statutory dispute resolution
process under the ACC scheme.
This was with regard to ''adequate funding, procedural
fairness and reliable evidentiary procedures''.
Dr Powell, a co-author of Acclaim Otago's report, said the
claimant group was ''delighted'' that the ''voices of people
with disabilities'' covered by ACC had been heard.
The report's main author, Warren Forster, of Dunedin, said
New Zealanders could now debate how access to justice for ACC
claimants could be improved.