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Collins must 'refocus' ACC - lobby group

Published: 10:28AM Thursday June 14, 2012 Source: ONE News

ACC Minister Judith Collins should refocus the under fire organisation and spell out exactly what changes she intends to make, a lobby group says.

The call from the ACC Futures Coalition comes after Labour's ACC spokesperson Andrew Little said the resignation of chief executive Ralph Stewart and board chair John Judge were evidence of "utter chaos" at the corporation.

Collins announced earlier this week that Judge will be standing down at the end of the month and replaced by former Commerce Commission chair Paula Rebstock until a new chair is appointed.

Collins' statement said Judge's impending appointment as chairman of the ANZ National Bank, from June 23, is the reason for his stepping aside, but cited a need for the corporation to "refocus on rebuilding public trust and confidence".

Hazel Armstrong from the ACC Futures Coalition told TV ONE's Breakfast it would help if Collins would say more than she wants to change the culture and rebuild trust.

"She's got to refocus the whole organisation and the people she appoints on the claimant," Armstrong said.

"That's a big thing for her to do because they've been running down the track of a private insurance company that's all about the bottom line and making a profit.

"And she's got to turn this big ship around, and she's not yet said what rebuilding trust is, and were not sure she understands that it's about claimants yet."

ACC remains under investigation for privacy breaches which have seen clients' confidential details mistakenly emailed to wrong recipients.

"It's much more than privacy it's a whole attitude towards claimants and being claimant centered," Armstrong said.

She said the Government could be underestimating the plight of the injured New Zealand.

"This perfect storm is around claimants and its telling me that New Zealanders want ACC to give a fair go to the injured New Zealand."

PR company

Labour said yesterday that ACC has shelled out a large sum of money to a PR company to help them handle this saga.

"That is just unforgiveable from an organisation that is set up to look after people who are injured," Little said.

Little said National has "managed to create a shambles out of New Zealand's world-class insurance agency".

Armstrong said she does not think the PR company will help the organisation.

'Silly nonsense'

ACC Minister Judith Collins is describing a call for her to stand down from the role as "silly nonsense".

Little called for Prime Minister John Key to "relieve" Collins of her portfolio, but Collins said Little was being "desperate".

"The other day I heard him [Little] calling for the chair to go, well the chair's gone. I've heard him calling for the CEO to go, well he's gone. He called for my colleague Dr Nick Smith to resign, he resigned. It actually has to stop, this silly nonsense from Mr Little."

Collins said she would not be apologising for anything she has said regarding privacy breaches at the corporation.

Stewart's announcement came in a statement to staff on the ACC website, a day after Collins announced that Judge will stand down at the end of the month.

Board members John McCliskie and Rod Campbell will also be replaced.

Stewart has been at ACC for six months. He was formerly the head of AXA New Zealand for seven years, prior to taking up the post.

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