ACC Chair goes

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

Judith Collins has announced:

ACC Minister Judith Collins today announced that Ms Paula Rebstock will be Acting Chair on the ACC 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 John Judge, 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.

Ugly costs ahead for ACC funders

October 11th, 2009 at 8:10 am by David Farrar

Grahame Armstrong in the SST looks at the bad news:

Cabinet will tomorrow approve a bailout plan that also aims to safeguard ACC’s financial future. The proposed changes will be open to public discussion for four to five weeks before ACC makes recommendations to the government. …

Wage earners currently pay an ACC levy of 1.7% of what they earn, up to $110,000 (any income above that does not attract a levy). That is set to rise to 2.5%.

The Sunday Star-Times understands the ACC levy for a family earning $38,000 is likely to rise by $304 a year, plus an extra $52 to register the family car and 4c a litre more at the fuel pump.

If the government chooses not to increase the ACC petrol excise, which is now 9c a litre, the ACC component of registering a car, now $168, will go up even more – possibly by as much as $107.

Someone on the average wage of $45,000 will pay $360 more a year to ACC, plus the extra fuel and vehicle registration costs. The ACC levy for those on $65,000 will go up about $520 a year while those earning $85,000 will pay $680 more.

This is all because Labour kept adding on more and more entitlements, but didn’t fund them. It was fiscal folly. Don’t think this is just about the investment losses.

ACC chairman John Judge told the Star-Times ACC’s debt was worth about $3000 for every New Zealander, and it was going to take a “hard-nosed” approach – and possibly up to 10 years – to get it into a sustainable position. This would require “substantial” levy increases and legislative change to get people off the scheme and back to work quicker.

“In the last five years we’ve lost $9b. We need to act today because this liability is like a mortgage – if we don’t start paying it off tomorrow it gets bigger by $700 million-$800 million a year.”

Yes, the time has come to get the scheme under control. It really is about saving ACC, because if no changes were made the increased levy payments would be even more horrific.

ACC Minister Nick Smith said the choices for the government were “pretty ugly”.

“It is inevitable there will be levy increases,” he said. “The government’s preferred approach is to get savings out of ACC operationally and out of pulling back on some of the welfare-type entitlements … Without change, ACC is on course to go broke.

It has changed from a well intentioned scheme which provided support if you had an accident and were off work for a few weeks, to a massive extension of the welfare state.

Labour’s ACC spokesman David Parker said the situation was not as gloomy as the government was projecting. The ACC’s liabilities and costs were increasing but it was also the country’s biggest insurer, and the cost blow-out could not simply be blamed on poor management.

Oh yes we are going to believe Labour’s projections on this.

New ACC Chairman

March 9th, 2009 at 4:30 pm by David Farrar

Nick Smith has just announced that John Judge will replace former CTU President Ross Wilson as Chairman of ACC. Other board appointments will be confirmed by the end of March.

Judge has a very strong background in financial management and governance. He was Chief Executive of Ernst & Young for 12 years and serves on a number of boards, and is the Chair of both Te Papa and the Auckland Art Gallery Foundation. So he seems well skilled at balancing financial objectives with wider social objectives. He also is on the advisory boards to both the Auckland University and Otago University Schools of Business.

Labour appointed Judge to the Te Papa Board in 2000, so presumably will find it difficult to attack his appointment to chair ACC.