Poisoning by disease or bacterium isn’t covered by ACC unless it is the result of a criminal act.

Isn’t that extraordinary? The Accident Compensation Corporation won’t cover you if you accidentally poison yourself, but they will if it’s criminal.

It’s been a month since the three members of the same family fell ill. They’d eaten wild boar that they’d killed on a hunting trip.

They still haven’t confirmed what made them so sick, but they’ve sent tests to a lab in Queensland to see if it’s a strain of botulism. There’s no timeframe on the tests, which is odd.

They’ll just get the results back in due course, apparently.  In the meantime, the three have responded to anti-toxins for botulism.

What I don’t understand is why ACC doesn’t cover this.

If you accidentally ingest a food that almost kills you, that poisons your system and renders you almost lifeless in half an hour, how is that not an accident?

How many of you have eaten wild food hunted off the land?  I have; venison, wild boar, I by-pass rabbit and goat, but my family eats it. And seafood? We catch and consume seafood by the tonne in this country. If you are accidentally poisoned in the process, should that not be covered by the ACC?

ACC says they don’t qualify for compensation because the ingestion or inhalation of bacterium is not considered an accident unless it is the result of a criminal act.

They’ve also declined a number of claims that related to the Hawke’s bay campylobacter outbreak last year on the same basis.

What do you make of this?

If you were in Hawke’s Bay and you consumed campylobacter because it had entered the region’s water system.  It’s through no fault of your own that you’ve consumed that bacteria, but boy, are you sick now.

And then ACC says it won’t cover you unless it was a criminal act. If someone purposefully contaminated the water, then you’re covered but if it occurred through an act of negligence or for any other reason, then you’re not.

I don’t think that’s right. In this case, I think the law is an ass.

ACC says its focus is on care, prevention and recovery. Well, yes, but not in these two cases.

Can I just say that the ACC is something we should all be incredibly proud of?

Talk to any foreigner and they take their hat off to New Zealand for implementing such a brilliant organisation that looks after and cares for its people in times of need.

Talk to my husband about this. He’s South African. He is in awe of the ACC. He ruptured his bicep while out in the surf one day, and the ACC stepped in. He will sing the praises of the ACC forever more.  And we all should.

However in this case, I think the ACC isn’t meeting the public’s needs.

The organisation’s mantra is ‘we’re making a difference to people’s lives’. And that’s true., but not in this case.

My heart goes out to the three people who did what many of us do: they consumed wild meat.  It nearly cost them their lives, and now it will cost them financially for the rest of their lives.


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