The Government has defended its ACC cutbacks for the families of suicide cases, following criticism after an Auckland death.

Until the changes were passed, families of all suicide cases could receive a range of payments from ACC - a funeral grant, a survivor's grant of around $5000, a share of income-related compensation (for dependents), and funding for counselling.

Now these provisions are restricted to families of suicide cases which arise from mental injury caused either by a physical injury or by sexual abuse; or from a work-related mental injury.

ACC Minister Nick Smith said the changes arose from the Government's position that suicide, although a tragedy, was not an accident.

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