An injured skier is transferred at the Kitchener St helipad in Dunedin on August 4. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Nearly 4000 snowsports injury claims have been lodged with
ACC so far this winter, with the Queenstown Lakes district
the top location for accidents.
Throughout June and July, there were 2020 skiing-related
injury claims and 1702 involving snowboarders.
However, a delay in the lodgement of claims could mean the
figures are higher.
The most common injuries have been sprains, strains or
contusions, followed by fractures and dislocations,
concussions, lacerations or puncture wounds.
Last year, about 13,000 people claimed for snowsports
injuries through ACC, which paid out $18.5 million for the
2013 winter season.
ACC spokesperson Stephanie Melville said given seasonal
variables such as weather, snowfall and operating days, it
was not possible to identify how this season's claim numbers
were tracking against previous years.
While ACC did not capture information to the level of detail
which allowed for comparison of injury numbers by skifields,
territorial authority statistics showed the highest number of
injuries were in the Queenstown-Lakes district, followed by
the Central Otago, Ruapehu, Ashburton and Auckland City
Ms Melville said because ACC was a no-fault scheme, which
replaced the right to sue for personal injury resulting from
negligence, cover was provided to overseas visitors, too.
However, ACC covered only treatment and rehabilitation costs
while an international visitor was in New Zealand and was not
a replacement for travel insurance.
''It is generally regarded that the cost of providing ACC
entitlements to visitors is likely to be much less than what
it would cost the New Zealand taxpayer if visitors were able
to sue for injuries here.
"In this sense, New Zealand is not being unreasonably
impacted by paying for ACC cover for visitors.''
The overall percentage of ACC claims made by tourists was a
''very small proportion of the 1.7 million claims we get
every year'', Ms Melville said.