More on the ACC saga

March 21st, 2012 at 12:29 pm by David Farrar

I blogged yesterday:

As Nick has now conceded it was an error of judgement. You can quibble over the fact the letter was to independent medical assessors, not . But the reality is Nick should have declined to write the letter at all, just as he had also declined to intervene with . There were many other people who could write a letter about how Bronwyn was before her accident.

Doing the letter on parliamentary letterhead compounded the failure of judgement.

I also blogged:

While a failure of judgement, I was pleased to see a journalist tweet that David Shearer had declined to say he thinks the lapse in judgement was serious enough to warrant resignation.

Since then Shearer has changed his stance. Patrick Gower blogs on it, saying Shearer had a shocker.

I also blogged:

 I’m not actually against a fuller independent inquiry, because while I do not think anyone has acted with malign motives, the perception is that it is very murky and sunlight is the best disinfectant. However it might be that the Privacy Commissioner inquiry will be wide enough.

I am now of the view that an independent inquiry, at a minimum, is necessary. The Privacy Commissioner can only cover the privacy issues around the data breach, and can not cover the wider issues. The speculation on the nature of the friendship does raise issues that need to be dealt with.

If the terms of reference were wide enough, it could in fact cover the entire history Pullar has with ACC (something she wants). Not often I quote Bomber Bradbury, but I think he is correct when he says:

Even National Party activists deserve to be treated with dignity and watching ACC throw Bronwyn to the Police over a faked allegation that she threatened to expose ACC negligence in return for compensation boils my blood. I say faked because the doyenne of the right, MFB (Michelle Fucking Boag) was in that meeting. Say what you will of ‘chelle, but she ain’t stupid enough to rock up to ACC in the capacity of a support person and threaten them with a bribery option. …

 through their own negligence they release confidential papers and when called on it, bully and intimidate a woman who has an existing complaint against them. 

This doesn’t change my view that Pullar shout not have retained the data, but it doesn’t mean ACC have behaved correctly either.

A full independent inquiry could cover:

  • Consideration of Pullar’s grievances against ACC
  • How the data breach to her occurred, and how it can be prevented in future
  • Pullar’s actions with the data, and what happened at the meetings held with ACC
  • Smith’s interactions with Pullar over her grievances
  • Anything else the QC deems relevant

This may not be an attractive option to the Government. Personally I am of the view that Nick’s ill judgement was motivated by compassion, and there are no malign motivations involved. However others will suggest different motives, and for that reason I don’t think the issue will go away, unless there is a full inquiry, or some other form of accountability.

UPDATE: Cactus Kate has an interesting blog post on the issue. She picked Bronwyn up from the hospital after her accident, so speaks from some first hand knowledge.

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19 Responses to “More on the ACC saga”

  1. E. Campbell (91 comments) says:

    This is a slow train-wreck that has been badly managed by the ACC, the Government (especially the 9th floor) and even the Opposition have made a bit of a mess of it. I think Smith’s a goner.

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  2. Paulus (2,672 comments) says:

    Not a Taito Philip Field offence but worthy of a Lianne Dalziel stand down.

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  3. Cunningham (846 comments) says:

    I don’t think there is anyway Smith will survive this issue. The story has legs and I suspect more will come out. It is not going to go away unless he is given the axe.

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  4. tvb (4,517 comments) says:

    I think a criminal inquiry is more appropriate for Miss fuller and Miss Boag, but that is a matter for he Corporation. But so far as Nick Smith is concerned did he go further than merely writing this letter. What contact did he have with Boag??? Has he told the PM everything. Maybe he did not tell the PM the whole truth.

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  5. David Garrett (7,563 comments) says:

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of the matter – and at the very least he was most unwise – I really feel for the guy. He has a history of psyc problems (public domain, so I am not revealing anything) but that wont stop the media jackals…in fact I seriously dont think it would worry most of them in the least if they drove a poli to top himself…

    Kia kaha Nick…

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  6. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    So, Pullar may not have been just a friend but ]deleted by DPF].

    [DPF: 30 demerits for nastiness]

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  7. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > He has a history of psyc problems

    So not really a great candidate for ministerial portfolios?

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  8. tvb (4,517 comments) says:

    BTW I am sick of this “lets all feel sorry for Bronwyn”. She has created a storm of problems for the Government, placed at Minister at risk and enlisted Boag who is a high risk person.

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  9. David Garrett (7,563 comments) says:

    ross69: another caring leftie I see…fuck you pricks make me sick…you bend over in knots to cover up for and excuse the behaviour of your leftie mates – like Field – but go for the jugular whenever someone on the right trangresses, no matter how minor it might be…and no, I’m afraid I dont think this one is that minor…

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  10. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Excuse the behaviour of Field? Not me, he deserved everything that came his way.

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  11. E. Campbell (91 comments) says:

    Smith’s been recalled to the capital and is holding a press conference at 1:45pm. I expect that’s it…down the road he goes.

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  12. David Garrett (7,563 comments) says:

    ross69: In that case, my apologies…any smidgen of respect I had for Clark went over that saga…

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  13. Mark (1,493 comments) says:

    this is not an issue about Labour, Shearer or Field, it is simply an own goal by Nick Smith and it is a fairly major fuck-up. Key will have to, albeit belatedly, step up to the plate this afternoon and fire Smith or at least put him in the sin bin for a period. If he does not show some leadership here it will be one of those festering issues that gnaws at nationals support base.

    It is a shame because Smith is leading a long overdue reform of Local Government which could end up as a shambles if it is not driven through properly.

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  14. David Garrett (7,563 comments) says:

    …and after he resigns the scum will want to dredge into his private life…try and find some prick who will tell about what he and this woman may or may not have done… Is Ian Templeton still alive does anyone know??

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  15. tvb (4,517 comments) says:

    Looking to the local government thing. I have said Smith is the wrong person for this. Need someone who is non threatening but determined and cunning. Who?? That sort of person is in short supply in this Government.

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  16. davidp (3,588 comments) says:

    Regarding the privacy breach… My understanding is that Pullar was informing the media that there had been a breach, by at least copying them on e-mails discussing the breach. IMHO that itself crossed the line and must be construed as a threat. If not a threat to release the material, it must have been seen as a threat to share all interactions with ACC with the media in order to extract some sort of bargaining advantage.

    But, was the material itself actually released to the media at any stage? That isn’t clear to me.

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  17. trout (945 comments) says:

    If Pullar was more than just a friend (as Winston infers) Smith is toast. Key has shown an intolerance of his Ministers’ pecadillos where they can be linked back to Govt. business. Smith is making a statement to Parliament at 2pm.

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  18. Manolo (14,078 comments) says:

    Newstalkzb reports: http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/news/nbpol/80549028-Peters-leading-attacks-on-ACC-Minister

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  19. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    Puller was stupid, if she had deleted the file and advised ACC then it would have been in house and sorted.
    Instead she went to her “mate” and it has all gone downhill from here.
    She cannot stand on integrity as she didn’t delete the file.

    I’m with Davidp on this one.

    Nick Smith sadly has pissed away all that he has gained over the past 2 decades and his memory will go down as an iffy relationship squabble with possible integrity issue as well.
    that’s why Ministers have private secretaries?

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