ACC protest delivers 4000 signatures to Parliament

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Opponents of ACC’s new guidelines for dealing with sensitive claims have delivered a petition with 4000 signatures to Parliament in Wellington.

Petition organisers said half of the signatures came from clinical professionals.

ACC Minister Nick Smith was unavailable to meet the petition’s organiser, psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald, at yesterday’s rally. However, Smith sent list MPs Michael Woodhouse and Nicky Wagner to receive the petition.

MacDonald said the number of professionals who had signed the petition sent a clear message to Parliament that the guidelines were wrong.

“It should be clinicians, not politicians, directing these guidelines, but an overwhelming number of people who signed it are professionals,” he said.

Wagner said it seemed strange that so many clinicians had signed the petition when the Government had undertaken more than four years of consultation with professionals before announcing the guidelines, which came into force yesterday.

Labour leader Phil Goff, who met the rally, said the protesters had his party’s full support.

Labour list MP Lynne Pillay said collecting 4000 signatures in under six weeks was “incredible”, and called on the Government to halt the guidelines.

Opponents are concerned that the new guidelines will reduce access to counselling for sexual abuse victims and discourage them from seeking treatment.

Smith announced yesterday that the guidelines would be reviewed after six months.

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