What a wonder. Idle rape counsellors all over the country have been partying like crazy lately.

There have been reports of scores of counsellors in small, disorganised herds like happy wildebeests, sitting around sunny resort pools in exotic locales sucking down tall beverages, practising My Way for the evening karaoke competition.

If you cup your hand to your ear, you can hear clumps of eight or nine of them belting it out with air mics near the shallow end. They're not stupid. They keep well away from the deep end.

They know what it feels like to be pushed in without a life preserver - and they hate watching people drown. All those years of trying to teach folks how to swim back into life are history now.

It's play time, amigos, because, New Zealand, we have been healed.

Under the Government's policy, ACC has accomplished something amazing. It has managed to erase almost 90 per cent of all rape and incest survivors from getting ACC-approved counselling help.

What a crazy success story. There's a reason those party animals are sucking down their lime spritzers by the pool.

They used to work hard. Really hard. Back in 2001, almost 94 per cent of ACC claims from rape and incest victims were accepted.

Makes economic sense, doesn't it? It's like breaking an ankle. As a society we need to heal our wounded citizens, otherwise they can't get back on their feet.

And we all know what happens when we can't walk stably. Wobbly jobs and a wobbly home life mean more people in that family eventually start to limp.

Forget about the moral imperative, economics alone should show that it costs us all more in the long run.

Here's where the raw policy brilliance came in. Some bright spark decided to say, okay, sprain your ankle and the Government will take care of it, but get so unlucky as to be raped and there's one teensy catch before a professional can help you heal.

You have to be declared mentally ill after an assessment by ACC. How charming is that for a reluctant survivor who may have taken years to get up the courage to front up for counselling? Or a victim in crisis?

Not only do you have to be declared mentally ill, but ACC has to decide that your mental illness is specifically due to the sexual abuse. If you've had other traumatic events in your life previously, good luck.

What has happened since this policy brainwave hit in October? Here's where the miraculous part comes in. We are all better now. How else can you explain this flip-flop?

As a nation, we have gone from helping almost 94 per cent of sexual abuse victims almost a decade ago to not helping almost 90 per cent of them today. Talk about re-victimising the victim. More than half of ACC claims for sexual abuse counselling are now being turned down outright.

It's the government equivalent of saying, "You have a broken ankle - nah-uh, I don't think so." Except if your injury was your ankle, you'd have a statistically better chance of the Government agreeing to fix it.

Meanwhile 32 per cent of claims are being held up in the system for more information, with delay times for someone in crisis that can span two to eight months.

A paltry 3.5 per cent are under assessment. And wait for it - because here's the happy number we've all been waiting to celebrate - only 11.9 per cent of survivors' claims have been approved for treatment. More brilliantly, we have managed to scare off victims from even applying.

Whereas last year 550 a month applied, that number has now shrunk by half. Stretched crisis centres nationwide have been left to pick up the pieces.

Calls to centres in the Auckland region are up 26 per cent since the new rules came into effect. Sexual abuse hotlines in the Auckland area alone received an estimated 18,000 calls last year.

The Government has certainly accomplished something. By telling ACC to tighten its books, it has managed to erase the healing needs of sexual abuse victims off its accounting ledgers while stupidly dumping them into a much bigger societal price tag that will cost us all far more over time.

So next time you spot that roaming herd of rape counsellors rehearsing the entire Sinatra songbook, give 'em a break.

Until someone takes off this Government's ridiculously blind economic mask and looks at the bigger societal costs, I don't see any reason why those party animals don't have a damn good chance of taking home the karaoke cup for their rendition of My Way.

Just sing it like you don't mean it.

If you need help for sexual abuse, phone (09) 623-1700, a 24-hour crisis line.

www.traceybarnett.co.nz or Twitter @TraceyBarnett