Nick Smith says the culture of the department has to change. He says, and quite rightly, ACC has become another welfare agency rather than an insurer.
But just as the department's culture has to change, so too does ours. The concept that it's OK to rip off the "system" is prevalent - among all socio-economic groups. The poor and the disenfranchised see it as their God-given right to receive ACC payments because the world owes them a living; the upwardly mobile professionals are just as sweet about having ACC pay for their physiotherapy sessions and their taxi rides to six-figure paying jobs because they never get anything for free so why not make the most of it?
This idea that we're somehow getting something for nothing has been shown as the sham that it is with the revelation that we will all have to pay to cover the shortfall and keep the system going.
And she's dead right. This, more than anything, will be the legacy of Helen Clark's Labour-led government. No, not the deceit, deception and bitterness. We're talking about the effect that the government had on our national psyche, turning a good proportion of our citizens into government-dependant bludgers. It was a deliberate, calculated strategy. And it will take a number of years to roll back. We wish Nick Smith well as he ponders the options for ACC.