Wednesday, August 25, 2004

ACC and Response, or lack there-of

Sooooooo. It has now been over 11 weeks since I sliced my hand whilst at work in a small yet brilliantly disabling accident.
The accident occasioned a week odd in Hospital, a five hour operation and the loss of the use of my dominant hand for two years.
While most everything has been fine - people have been helpful, girlfriend closest to saintly that she is ever likely to get, learning to write with other hand etc - the inability to work and corresponding lack of money is not fine.
Which is where ACC comes in handy. I read with interest that Diana Wichtel received home-visits from her case worker. Which hurts really - in my ten weeks of having a case worker I have received ONE letter.
That is it. Not a cent. Not a phone call. Certainly not a home visit.
Better still, the letter was to say that she could not return my calls. I've been leaving one message a week with her answering machine and in reply I've had one letter saying she could not raise me by phone. WHY DON"T YOU TRY FUCKING RINGING IT?

So Yvonne Thompson of the Auckland branch I here make a formal complaint over your inept negligence. I have not received any help or income assistance from you and am sick of living on $20 a week and the dwindling kindness of friends, and the dwindled kindness of my long suffering parents.

I don't believe that after paying $2000 in ACC levies in the past financial year that I am not eligible for a single cent.

I'd love to hear from you Yvonne............

Which brings to mind Dr Paul Hutchison's claims that the abandonment of the Market model for ACC has led to a rise in accident numbers.
Dr Hutchison is the National Party spokesperson for ACC. Many may never have heard of him but he is seriously saying that "Competition and individual risk rating in accident insurance provides better incentives to cut the number of accidents."

I can understand the wish for a no-profile MP to fire out press-releases at anything moving, but surely linking re-nationalisation and workplace deaths is at the best gauche, at the worst sick.

Anyway now for something a little different.

This correspondence followed from the 'Poisoned Pot' piece that appears below.

Have a read.


Dear Fuse,

I'd like to clarify some comments made in your inaugural edition by Simon Pound in his "In for a Penny" column regarding police cannabis operations.
Pound has his wires crossed with his statement: "Apparently police are warning cannabis consumers to watch out for the (poisoned) weed", in reference to the aerial spraying operations carried out on the Coromandel Peninsula.
To set the record straight, NORML issued a press release to all newspapers in the Coromandel area, warning smokers to be aware that some unscrupulous dealers were dipping the dyed cannabis in food colouring to mask the bluespray. NORML also raised issues of possible poisoning or health concerns that may result from smoking the sprayed cannabis. As a consequence of that, newspapers approached police for comment. Our message to the community was simple: If you're going to play with illegal drugs, you take the risks.
Pound is right to highlight this issue. As our society overflows with more toxic, chemical-based "recreational" drugs, a thriving industry is emerging. Be under no illusions - drug dealers and manufacturers are out to make money, not to provide a community service. A drug-related fatality is of no concern to them. There's plenty more customers out there.

Communications Manager Waikato Police

Apart from a minor reading error - that NORML issued the warning and not the police, who by implication welcome the extra risk to pot-smokers - Kris doesn't disagree with any substantative points in the column.

Can you, for bonus points, actually work out what exactly she is trying to say? It reads as if it were concocted with a checklist - get the message out regardless of relevancy or how it reads.

Thing is I'd figured it was pretty non-inflammatory from a police perspective. To enter in and clarify is, of course, fine but if reefer madness language was missing, it is no longer. This section here warrants ominous background music and to be voiced by the guy who does all the movie trailers:

As our society overflows with more toxic, chemical-based "recreational" drugs, a thriving industry is emerging. Be under no illusions - drug dealers and manufacturers are out to make money, not to provide a community service. A drug-related fatality is of no concern to them. There's plenty more customers out there.

dun du dun da.........

Putting aside the regrettable grammar - 'There are plenty more' perhaps..... - I'm disappointed because I consider myself almost rabidly pro-police.
This is because the police receive the bum-rap in terms of reportage. With a few recent exceptions. In the case of the Iraqi man shot fatally by a police officer the headline was further towards the favourable, while still a little sensationalist: Knifeman's wife saved by cop's fatal shot.
In this case a cop managed to shoot a man who had just stabbed him in the arm, from 7m, to save the stabber's wife. Even better, he managed to, from 7m, hit the guy in the leg three times. When this did not stop the offender from still attempting to cut his wife's throat he had to shoot him in the head. Not what he wanted to do but absolutely heroic. And incredibly difficult.
Yet, when this man should be getting medals, he instead gets to be subject to three inquiries.

Why do cops bother. Even on the best day at work a policeman can expect to deal with car-crashes, dead bodies, domestic violence, drunks, thugs, thieves and worst of all - myriad innocent victims. Everyday they are putting themselves in situations we'd rather avoid and you don't see their success on the front pages or leading the news - only when something goes wrong.
We're beyond lucky to have an honest force though you don't hear much gratitude.

Though some policies that police are obliged to enforce bug me, such as this poisoning of weed, they are not the baddies. I thought that came through in the piece, but if it didn't, it does now.

The column this is all about first appeared in Fuse, the Herald Student supplement. Unfortunately, fuse has been met with resounding indifference from those in the know.

Matt Nippert provided illumination as to the financial set-up of the paper, which was especially interesting to this contributor who signed up to have something in all six issues for the paltry sum of $300 for 2500 odd words.

Not that I'm complaining, regular readers will be aware I sustained an injury that led to an end for all of my conventional means of employment, and as a result I really have to take what is going. Though this doesn't take the sting out when it gets rubbished - even if for very good reasons.

Russell Brown has mentioned Fuse a bunch of times, mainly vaguely disparagingly as in this instance, although he seems to have overlooked the presence of at least one redeeming feature...........


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