ACC Chair goes

June 12th, 2012 at 2:47 pm by David Farrar

has announced:

Minister Judith Collins today announced that Ms Paula Rebstock will be Acting Chair on the Board until a new Board Chair is appointed.

To complete the financial year for ACC it has been agreed that Mr Judge will remain as Chair until 30 June 2012.

Mr Judge takes up the role of Chair of the ANZ National Bank on 23 June 2012.

Ms Collins says Mr Judge’s new role is a significant appointment and will require even more of his time than his current role as a director.

“I would like to thank Mr Judge for the contribution he has made during his time as Chair of the Board.

“I particularly acknowledge the role he has played in returning ACC to financial health.

“I believe privacy and information security is now the number one priority for ACC and it must refocus on rebuilding public trust and confidence.”

It is obvious that the Chair’s resignation is not just about his new job as Chair of ANZ National Bank. It is good to see the Minister not accepting the status quo as acceptable. And to be fair to , he did play a major role in restoring ACC to financial health.

ACC has a tough job at the best of times. There definitely are a number of people who try tot rort the system. We’ve seen some of them prosecuted in the courts, and their numbers are not insignificant. As an employer who pays many thousands in ACC levies, I do want ACC to be vigilant and not a soft touch.

However that doesn’t mean treating every long-term claimant as a rorter or faker, and especially not interfering with independent medical assessments, and also not using language such as we saw on 60 minutes. It is obvious there are parts of ACC that has a culture problem, and they also have serious privacy issues.

The focus on rebuilding public trust and confidence is the right one.

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23 Responses to “ACC Chair goes”

  1. tvb (3,948 comments) says:

    This is merely symbolic and the Monister has been careful not to trash judge. The ChiefExecutive has some explaining but that is a matter for the board to address which will be easier with a new chair.

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  2. Nostalgia-NZ (4,699 comments) says:

    I wonder how far he flew through the air when Crusher kicked his butt?

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  3. BeaB (1,959 comments) says:

    We recently had dealings with ACC and found them to be sensible, considerate and thorough. We didn’t get the outcome we were seeking but fully accepted the clear explanation why.
    Perhaps at last the rorts are going to be stopped as they have with physios etc.

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  4. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    The underlying problem is ACC’s monopoly. They effectively set their premiums to cover their outgoings, and have no real obligation nor desire to work on returning people to work. They’ve become an arm of govt instead of an insurer. A private insurer would definitely not put up with the claims of many of the people on ACC’s books – many of them have some ability to work, their main issue is that they cannot work at the job they used to have. That is very unfortunate for them, but it doesn’t entitle them to many years of living off the levies paid by others.

    Bottom line, we should either:
    – have a disability pension, set at what you need to live on (not with reference to previous salary), and people who are disabled can go on it, OR
    – have an insurance scheme that covers those who are unfortunate, but has the normal rules of a disability insurance scheme where you have to demonstrate incapacity to work.

    We unfortunately have something in between that is effectively an off balance sheet form of welfare and that covers a range of nebulous conditions that a private sector insurer would be unlikely to sign up for.

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  5. JeffW (303 comments) says:

    “I do want ACC to be vigilant and not a soft touch”.

    I want ACC not to exist.

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  6. jaba (2,069 comments) says:

    I see Labour are snarky that Paula has taken over the job

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  7. Jinky (152 comments) says:

    It always looks better to allow someone to resign rather than have to sack them. easier to spin the story when the person being removed is onside rather than against you.

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  8. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Well from what Ive seen so far the Pullar woman certainly has a bee in her bonnet and is obviously difficult to deal with, but it seems that ACC have lied thru their teeth.

    This use of the police is a worrying trend. Corporates are increasingly using complaints to the police to do two things.
    1. To put extra force on the person complained about.
    2. To get free legal advice from the taxpayer (as the police have to provide full reports on the outcome – they cant just say “we are not doing anything” – if asked they have to hand over the records including the reasons)

    The Warehouse uses this all the time. Im am convinced that there is a deal between the Warehouse and the Police that gives the warehouse prioritory attention. They even give the police special parks at many of their outlets.
    Im not sure that the ‘deal’ is legal or illegal, but when the warehouse lays a complaint’ the police jump. If I lay a complaint ill be lucky to ever hear from them.

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  9. Armotur (24 comments) says:

    We need to remember two things here.

    1/. New Zealander’s gave up the right to SUE when the Woodhouse Report recommendations were adopted in 1974. That is very significant.

    2/. The New Zealand ACC Scheme is widely acknowledged as being one of the cheapest approaches to managing Accident compensation in the world. That is also significant.

    So we have lost the right to sue and either the ACC system is very efficient or New Zealander’s are being screwed.

    Seems to be a lot of evidence of the latter!

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  10. reubee (22 comments) says:

    I had sympathy for the ACC after the one-sided 60 minutes story. What I found interesting was the claim that ACC made billions of dollars profit. I didn’t believe it initially but their annual report indicates something similar http://www.acc.co.nz/PRD_EXT_CSMP/groups/external_communications/documents/reports_results/wpc096354.pdf

    That is it took in $4.8b of levy’s and paid out $2.5b in claims, which was scary enough until you look at the fact that at the beginning of the year ACC was over $10b in the hole, and still finished the year over $6.7b in the hole. How did it get that bad in the first place?

    P.S 60 mins showed the bike Bronwyn was riding, where was her helmet and what was her blood alcohol level?

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  11. lastmanstanding (1,154 comments) says:

    Judge is an example of the poor governance standards we put up with in NZ. The fish rots from the head and he and his Board have failed to establish a strong ethical and moral culture in the organisation. Similarly the CEO lacks the leadership skills and with a poor Board has also failed to establish the right culture.

    Monopoly state run organisations need to ride the fine line between being a soft touch on the one hand and being a bully on the other. But it can be done with the right people who have the governance and management skills to set the standards and point the compass in the right direction.

    The test is whether a majority of reasonable minded citizens believe the organisation is acting in a fair and reasonable MOST of the time. No organisation in this position can be expected to get it right ALL the time.

    But ACC has failed. There are too many cases over a long period that show poor judgement. The Pullar case is just an example.

    Like the Agean Stables the who thing needs a sluice out to clean it up.

    New Chair New Board New CEO New senior management.

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  12. davidp (3,329 comments) says:

    >It is good to see the Minister not accepting the status quo as acceptable.

    This is like Gorbachev thinking that all the Soviet Union needed was a bit of tweaking and some hard work and communism would work out just fine. ACC is a government monopoly. It is designed to respond to political rather than customer incentives. It doesn’t need a new chairman, or to get rid of a few claim staff, or to tighten up their IT security. They need to trade in a competitive environment where customer service is key.

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  13. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    reubee: some time ago the govt (Labour govt at the time perhaps, or National govt just before new Labour govt – either way had bipartisan support) decided that ACC should move to a fully funded model.

    In the past ACC set premiums such that the amount they paid out each year matched the premiums that came in. This is a classic pay as you go scheme – for insurance like house insurance it works fine, because all the costs appear when the house burns down. For sickness type stuff you pay claims for years – so someone getting sick today has cost into the future. This is effectively a intergenerational transfer – future taxpayers/premium payers have to pay for claims that arose today, as well as for claims in the future.

    The agreement was to move to a fully funded model. The premiums should pay for the future costs of all claims lodged in a particular year. Given that payouts continue into the future, this means that ACC puts money aside each year to pay future payments for claims lodged today. This also exposes ACC to investment returns – when the sharemarket crashes they have less money, and need to rebuild those reserves through increasing premiums. Which they’re doing.

    I think there’s some argument that pay as you go might be appropriate for ACC, I reckon if we went through that (again) we’d probably come down (again) on fully funding. Consequence of that is that ACC has to hold assets to cover the probable cost of future payouts to people who are already on the books.

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  14. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,684 comments) says:

    I wonder how many clients will flee from ANZ?

    That’s a bit like putting a French general in charge of the Normandy landings.

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  15. mikenmild (8,916 comments) says:

    Obviously ANZ think that Judge is a star (or an old mate)

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  16. Viking2 (10,747 comments) says:

    Well he will be replacing another turkey who considers that customers don’t matter. And that turkey encouraged that attitude at Telecom.
    What is it with these poeple who count money instead of customers?

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  17. Tauhei Notts (1,512 comments) says:

    Bloggers,
    Please tell me where I am wrong.
    1. The ACC wrongly sent confidential papers to Pullar.
    2. Pullar was trying rort dough from ACC.
    3. Pullar suggested to ACC that it would be in the best interests of ACC if Pullar got what she wanted.
    4. That is, Pullar was negotiating from a position of strength.
    5. Pullar let ACC know in certain terms that Pullar was negotiating from a position of strength.
    6. ACC staff had dealt with bullies when they were at school and knew that the best way to deal with a bully was to call their bluff.
    7. Pullar never ever unconditionally offered to return the documents sent to her in error.
    8. Pullar let ACC people know, by inference, that if she got her way, the papers would probably be returned to ACC.
    9. Pullar enjoyed watching the ACC people squirm in agony, just like those flies she used to pull the wings off in her childhood
    10. Pullar is a slag featured moll.

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  18. orewa1 (425 comments) says:

    A travesty. Judge turned the ACC from a public-owned public service, into an unethical cash cow for the Minister of Finance. He should have been fired.

    If I had an account at the ANZ I would close it.

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  19. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    lastmanstanding (768) Says:
    June 12th, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    …”Judge is an example of the poor governance standards we put up with in NZ”…

    Totally agree. One of the reason why NZer’s are so keen on property is the quality of governence. They dont know thats the reason – but its the results that puts everyone off.

    And I pity the ANZ – they are real pricks now – imagine what he will turn them into.

    Come on everyone – off to the TSB or Kiwibank. Ill recommend the TSB – excellent customer service.

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  20. questions (132 comments) says:

    “reubee
    That is it took in $4.8b of levy’s and paid out $2.5b in claims, which was scary enough until you look at the fact that at the beginning of the year ACC was over $10b in the hole, and still finished the year over $6.7b in the hole. How did it get that bad in the first place?”

    It is in a similar financial position to what it has always been, but you wouldn’t know this, because the National Party has lied about it.

    As explained above, changing funding models, from one where the money was taken in when it was needed for paying out, to one where they money was taken in before it needed to be paid out.

    This of course is going to leave it looking like they are well short of money, though this is solely due to a change in funding models.

    Almost all of what National has said on the topic is an outright lie designed to mislead the public, this of course didnt stop many enthusiastic kiwibloggers singing along.

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  21. Mark (1,303 comments) says:

    It will be interesting to see who takes on the chair of acc. Judge has overseen a huge financial turnaround of acc in all probability by installing a hard line culture on financial disciplines. This was in all likelihood the brief given by the government when he took over the job. Judge has been hung out to dry by Collins and National as the fall guy because there is no fucking way on earth anyone in this cabinet would accept any responsibility.

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  22. Paulus (2,304 comments) says:

    Remember Labour left ACC $4 billion in the poop in 2008 election.

    They forgot – well Clark and that stupid History teacher lied in the PREFU – there are words I cannot type for these two.

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  23. Ross12 (931 comments) says:

    Mark — why has Judge been hung out to dry ? I think you are right that he was given the job to get in there and sort out the financial situation. In this situation it is quite usual for that person to be in the job for a relatively short term. His contract ran out in March so if he is leaving now I don’t see any issues –certainly not hung out to dry.
    As for people in the cabinet accepting responsiblity —for what ?? A high profile, long running case is not resolved , someone releases personal file information , the management appear to run around in circles –these are all operational matters. The shareholders in a company keep well away from those sorts of things . The Board of ACC are there to make sure things work, from a strategic point of view.
    If you want the Cabinet to step in then you should push for getting rid of the Board and that implies having the ACC being a Government Dept.

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