2008 N.Z. L. Rev. 81 (2008)
Accident Compensation in New Zealand: Looking Back and Looking forward

handle is hein.journals/newzlndlr2008 and id is 93 raw text is: Accident Compensation in New Zealand:
Looking Back and Looking Forward
SIR GEOFFREY PALMER*
This article reflects the author s personal experience with the
development of accident compensation policy and his involvement
with Sir Owen Woodhouse, chair of the Woodhouse Commission
which recommended the New Zealand scheme. Reflections are
made concerning the uniqueness of the New Zealand scheme in the
common law world. Attention is drawn to the challenge that accident
compensation posed at its inception and still poses for the income
maintenance systems as a whole. It is argued that future policy
requires the inequalities that now characterize income maintenance
in New Zealand and that result from accident compensation be
addressed. Some analysis is also offered to show that costs will
increase should the administration of accident compensation return
to private enterprise.
Introduction
Accident compensation has played a pivotal role in my whole professional
life. My experiences with accident compensation in the early years determined
my entire future. Without it I would not have got into politics, would not
have become interested in law reform, and would not now be President of
the New Zealand Law Commission.
I was retained, in conjunction with officials, to write Personal Injury:
A Commentary on the Report of the Royal Commission of Enquiry into
Compensation for Personal Injury in New Zealand, the New Zealand
Government White Paper (the White Paper) on the accident compensation
scheme that was published in 1969.' Later, in 1973, I was appointed as the
*President, New Zealand Law Commission. My thanks to Zoe Prebble for her assistance
with this article.
1 [1969] IVAJHRH 50.

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