Clever Equations

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Owen Woodhouse, the architect of New Zealand’s world-leading accident compensation scheme, ACC, has died aged 97.

ACC ended the reign of lawyers. It brought certainty of relief for thousands of New Zealanders. In later years it has suffered a fair bit of tinkering as some governments have readied it for privatisation.

The scheme also displayed the morality of its founders. Here’s Sir Owen in a 2012 interview:

“The social responsibilities which underpin ACC ought never to be tested by clever equations, or brushed to one side by economic dogma. In the end, they depend on decent fellow feeling and the ideas and ideals that support it.”

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