A hunger striker protesting against the Accident Compensation Corporation lost 19kg during a 50-day battle for justice.
Mike Dixon-McIver has finally reached a settlement with ACC to end his hunger strike outside its Wellington office, which began in October.
Back home in Upper Hutt on Christmas Eve, he had started eating porridge and light foods, but could not stomach anything heavier.
The ordeal took a greater toll on his wife, Jolene, he said.
"If I got cold or it started raining I stuck my head under the sleeping bag. Jolene had to confront all the day-to-day pressure."
Mrs Dixon-McIver said it had been a horrible experience, but a necessary one.
"It was horrible, being at home not knowing if he was still alive. I would wake up at two or three in the morning crying, just praying he would survive the night."
The 75-year-old former ACC advocate has been locked in a six-year battle with the corporation after it unsuccessfully tried to prosecute him for fraud.
The case was thrown out and earlier this year a judge awarded him full legal costs of $13,000, but the corporation would not go to mediation to discuss damages.
After rejecting an offer of $90,000, Mr Dixon-McIver took to the street as a protest, saying he was willing to die if necessary.
During his hunger strike, he lived on coffee and fruit juice and lost 19kg.
He thanked supporters who had brought him pillows, blankets and drinks as well as protesting on his behalf across the country. "We have met some amazing people," he said.
He could not comment on the size of the settlement, citing confidentiality, but said it meant he was no longer bankrupt.
The couple would still have to move out of their rented home of 10 years in Heretaunga because they can no longer afford to stay.
ACC spokeswoman Stephanie Melville said it was pleasing that a settlement had been reached.
"ACC acknowledges and regrets the distress caused to Mr Dixon-McIver arising out of the prosecution," she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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