The Dominion-Post devotes its editorial this morning to ACC. And the leader writer makes it plain right from the start where (s)he stands; check this out:
Conventional wisdom has it that the smart thing to do if you are in a hole is to stop digging. That wisdom does not appear to have penetrated ACC's head office.The state provider of personal cover for injuries is continuing to defend its handling of the case of a former Auckland businesswoman despite mounting evidence it has allowed enmity towards a difficult claimant to colour its judgment.
We agree wholeheartedly with this assessment. ACC's handling of the Bronwyn Pullar case has been appalling, and the comment on Tuesday that it was business as usual despite the police having categorically stated that no offence was committed is as unsurprising as it is unacceptable.
The editorial then goes on to critique the Police decision, and review the evidence (which they have had the benefit of listening to); read on:
This week the police completed their preliminary investigation. They have decided to proceed no further. In the words of assistant commissioner Malcolm Burgess "no offence has been disclosed".There are two explanations for their decision.The first is that Ms Pullar did not use the words complained of by ACC. The second is that the words complained of did not constitute a criminal offence.Both are possible, but the recording made of the meeting by Ms Pullar heard by The Dominion Post suggests the first is the case. At no point in the meeting did Ms Pullar or Ms Boag threaten to go to the media or withhold the data if Ms Pullar was not guaranteed compensation.ACC chairman John Judge continues to insist that the report of the meeting supplied to new minister Judith Collins was "complete and accurate". He is wrong.By her own admission Ms Pullar can be difficult. What she calls her "perseveration and pestering tactics" forced the ministerial resignation of her friend, and Ms Collins' predecessor as ACC minister, Nick Smith.However, just because someone is awkward does not entitle a state corporation to ignore their rights. Ms Pullar says her privacy has been repeatedly breached by ACC and that it has forced her to jump through innumerable hoops. Other ACC clients report similar experiences.
ACC is clearly dysfunctional at the top level, and has been under the stewardship of successive governments and ministers. This prompts a reminder from the Dom-Post's leader writer as to just whose money ACC is splashing around, together with suggestions for ACC Minister Judith Collins:
The corporation is obliged to be a cautious steward of public money. The picture that is emerging, however, is of an organisation that is less concerned with safeguarding scarce resources than sparing itself inconvenience and embarrassment.Ms Collins should be demanding change and she should be demanding Mr Judge explain his continued defence of the misleading account of the meeting between ACC staff and Ms Pullar.
Once again, we agree wholeheartedly. We are sure that there will be a response from Judith Collins in the very near future, and we doubt that John Judge or his CEO Ralph Stewart will like what their Minister has to say to them.