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ACC takes over Mainzeal claims

Published: 2:30PM Tuesday February 12, 2013 Source: ONE News

ACC is taking over responsibility for existing and future Mainzeal workplace injury claims, it announced today.

In the wake of the Mainzeal Property and Construction collapse, ACC terminated its accredited employer contract with the company.

As an accredited employer, Mainzeal was a self insurer, which meant it was responsible for providing support for workers injured on the job, including weekly compensation where required.

Meanwhile, Labour is putting pressure on the Prime Minister to explain why the Building and Construction Minister is allowed to stay on as a director of a company with direct links to Mainzeal.

The calls come after revelations that Maurice Williamson is a director of the air conditioning company Holyoake Industries.

The company's been involved in projects with Mainzeal Property and Construction.

Labour says Williamson needs to step aside from any decision-making role on the Government's response to the Mainzeal collapse, to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest.

"He's the director of a company with an intimate relationship with Mainzeal, he's a minister making decisions he needs to step aside," Labour deputy leader Grant Robertson said.

Williamson had disclosed his directorship to Parliament and had John Key's approval to be on Holyoake's board.

Job losses

The receivers of Mainzeal won't rule out further job losses.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers receiver Colin McCloy told BusinessDesk that around 200 staff have been made redundant to stem operating cash flows as they move as quickly as possible to a rescue package for the firm, which is understood to have failed because its shareholder, Richard Yan of Richina Group, did not make a $1.8 million payment on an outstanding $20 million credit facility.

Bank of New Zealand withdrew credit facilities early last week, leading to the announcement of the receivership on February 6, and the resignation of three independent directors, former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley, former Brierley Investments chief executive Paul Collins, and a Tauranga businessman.

With some 440 staff in total, the receivers had kept on only those they believed could help with the receivership process, said McCloy.

Redundancies were across the board from head office to work sites.

PWC says while it has a handful of potential buyers it can't afford to pay staff during the receivership process.

It says it would be preferable to sell the businesses as one but is open to offers for individual parts of the company.

The Christchurch arm of an American firm, Ceres Environmental Services, showed its hand as a potential buyer late last week.

CeresNZ has been involved in demolition and site preparation in Christchurch, where Mainzeal was to have been a major player in post-earthquake reconstruction.

Other possible buyers include Fletcher Building and Downer EDI, although neither company has expressed a public view on the potential to pick up all or some of the Mainzeal portfolio.

"There's a handful looking at it as we speak," said McCloy.

Asked whether there was a prospect of a quick rescue, McCloy said: "That's why we are talking to a number of interested parties. We're doing all we can to move things as quickly as possible."

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