What Happened to the Woodhouse Report?

13 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2012 Last revised: 5 Jun 2015

See all articles by Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC

Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC

Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 1981


This paper traces the genesis of the New Zealand accident compensation legislation, discusses its shortcomings, comments on the amending Bill which is still under scrutiny by Parliament, and indicates some of the ways in which the present Act differs from the Woodhouse Report recommendations. The issues upon which attention is lavished while the policy is being settled are different from those upon which focus falls during an appraisal of the scheme’s performance. There are a lot of people with many different axes to grind involved in the injury industry in New Zealand. Those people with the weakest voice are those who have been hurt. People who have suffered incapacity and disablement and who continue to suffer it must play a bigger role in the development of policy in the accident compensation arena.

It is to be hoped that the emergence of academic literature will heighten the quality of public debate in New Zealand on accident compensation issues. There is a great deal of public misunderstanding about the history of accident compensation, its features and its coverage. The media have had consistent difficulty in understanding and explaining the subject over the years. On few subjects has there been more public misinformation concerning the New Zealand scheme than on its costs, and the effect of those costs on those who bear them. Another point not to be overlooked is the international interest in accident compensation. It has attracted rapt attention everywhere and not only in the common law world. The number of overseas visitors to New Zealand to investigate the scheme is very considerable.

Keywords: Woodhouse Report, accident compensation, policy development, New Zealand

JEL Classification: K19

Suggested Citation

Palmer QC, Sir Geoffrey, What Happened to the Woodhouse Report? (1981). New Zealand Law Journal 561, 1981; Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper Series Palmer Paper No.70/2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2190670

Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, 6140
New Zealand

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