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Poverty lobby wants all birth injuries covered by ACC as minister allows some

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has welcomed ACC Minister Carmel Sepuloni's announcement today that some birth injuries to mothers will be covered under the ACC scheme.

In the announcement, Sepuloni says 85 per cent of women in New Zealand experience an injury when giving birth, and a number of these injuries share similar features to other physical injuries covered by ACC.

The extension of cover is expected to benefit an estimated 17,000 to 18,000 more women per year.

CPAG health and disability spokesperson Dr Innes Asher says while these proposed changes are a positive step, the group wants the government to go further and include coverage for birth trauma experienced by mothers and for birth injuries suffered by babies.

"Parents of new babies are doing one of the most important jobs in the world," Asher says.

"All birth injuries - including mental injury - need to be covered, so parents can focus on the task at hand; nurturing their children.

"Families and babies suffer when a birth parent is experiencing birth trauma and unable to access appropriate treatment. It adds another layer of stress at a time when parents are vulnerable," she says.

"Overall women make fewer ACC claims than men, have fewer injuries covered, and those claims cost a lot less than men's claims."