Written by Peter CarterOctober 29, 2010
The NZ embassy in Canberra has now responded to demands about misleading and deceptive injury compensation statements on its website by agreeing that they be immediately removed.
Their capitulation coincided with the entirely separate controversy concerning the workplace rights of self employed film industry contractors working on the Peter Jackson epic, The Hobbit.
In October we posted and wrote to the embassy demanding they take down a website statement that misled international visitors to New Zealand into believing that the NZ accident compensation system provided benefits to visitors, without explaining that no one there is required to carry insurance for the injuries they cause and no one can be held accountable for the consequences of their conduct, however reckless they have been.
No international visitor to New Zealand can recover proper legal compensation if they are maimed, killed or orphaned anywhere in the land of the long white cloud because taken-for-granted rights for full legal compensation that apply in other advanced economies were removed there in the 1970s.
We suggested the embassy webpage include the following warning for international visitors:
Unlike most developed countries, victims can not hold wrongdoers accountable for injuries they encounter anywhere in New Zealand as a result of recklessness or negligence. Court claims for damages against persons responsible for injuries or their insurers are prohibited. Drivers and businesses are NOT required to carry insurance against injuries they cause other people. This applies to EVERYONE in ALL cases including road accidents, recreational injuries, domestic aircraft accidents and ALL OTHER SITUATIONS. Travel insurance can NOT cover you for all the losses you may sustain in an accident.
The First Secretary of the New Zealand High Commission to Australia officially responded to us this week stating: “Taking into consideration your comments we have decided to remove the website statement”.
The particular embassy web page URL now returns a “Page not found” response. The accident law itself seems more appropriate to Middle Earth than to a contemporary nation, but if it is to stay, let’s not let the Hobbits make it out like a fairy tale.
We all hope that accidents are unlikely when travelling – and thankfully, they are. However, travellers need to consider that the lack of accountability means there is much less of a safety culture and accident rates can, as a result, be higher than in places where accountability is the norm.