ACC and its directors, all bound for mourning town, many miles away

”They did what their political masters asked them to do and their political master needs to change.’

LATEST: Cabinet minister Judith Collins should be the next scalp in the ”ACC crisis”, Labour’s Andrew Little says.

Chief executive Ralph Stewart quit this morning following a boardroom clean out which has claimed chair John Judge, deputy John McCliskie and another director Rob Campbell.

Mounting pressure on the state insurer over the Bronwyn Pullar affair has resulted in the resignations.

Police last week decided not to prosecute Pullar following a complaint from ACC that she had tried to blackmail senior managers over the accidental release to her of the private details of more than 6500 claimants.

Judge and Stewart stood by their decision to go to the police, but Pullar has always rejected the claim.

Little today said Prime Minister John Key needed to sack Collins and bring in someone new to sort out the state-owner insurer.

”I don’t think John Judge, other board members and, for that matter, Ralph Stewart going – that alone is not going to change things.

”They did what their political masters asked them to do and their political master needs to change.”

Little, who along with fellow Labour MP Trevor Mallard is being sued by Collins for defamation, said she had taken her eye off the ball.

The Pullar saga was ” the deepest crisis ACC has been in in its 38 years”.

”John Judge and that board were put in place to do a job that the government instructed them to do, they’ve done it. It’s all turned turtle on them. Now they are in crisis.”

Stewart said the events of recent days and the departure of Judge and a number of directors “has brought me to the point where I have decided to step down as CEO”.

“This has been an incredibly hard decision to take and one that I have considered very carefully,” he said.

“In the relatively short time I have been here I have quickly come to respect ACC’s people, purpose and commitment to supporting the New Zealand way of life. I am deeply frustrated that the benefits of the scheme and the great work we do has been overshadowed by recent events.”

He said staff should “keep faith” with the plan to reform the corporation, “which I know is supported by the Minister and has been supported by the Board for many years”.

“Clear and deliberate focus on our customer, the quality and value we add, combined with world-class operating performance is the way forward for ACC. It needs all of the team working together to achieve success.

“I will keep you all informed about developments and the appointment of a new chief executive. My focus now is on ensuring a smooth and orderly transition.”

Stewart had only held the post since September 19. He had 27 years experience in the insurance industry – seven years as CEO of Axa New Zealand. He replaced Dr Jan White.

Government enforcer Paula Rebstock has been brought in to chair the board until a replacement is found.


* Bronwyn Pullar anonymously blew the whistle in March after ACC inadvertently emailed her the names and details of thousands of clients, including about 250 of its most sensitive claims

* Her name was leaked to a Sunday newspaper along with an email from her “supporter”, former National party president Michelle Boag

* ACC laid a complaint with police accusing her of threatening to go public about being mistakenly sent confidential client details

* Boag supported Pullar’s recollection that no threats were made in the December 2011 meeting

* It then emerged former ACC minister Nick Smith wrote a reference – on ministerial stationary – for Pullar in July last year, for her to use in her medical assessment for a claim she had lodged with ACC. He resigned.

* The Privacy Commission agreed to investigate the leak of Boag’s email

* Labour MPs Andrew Little and Trevor Mallard made allegations about the leak inside and outside of Parliament

* ACC Minister Judith Collins claimed Little and Mallard defamed her, and she asked for an apology

* The Labour MPs refused to apologise after receiving three letters from Collins’ law firm Morrison Kent

* Collins filed a claim in the High Court at Auckland against Little and Mallard for defamation

* An ACC report – made public on Collins’ instructions – said Pullar threatened to go public about the leaked details

* A tape recording of the December 2011 meeting made by Pullar showed ACC had misled Collins and the public in its report

* Police announced they dropped their inquiry into extortion allegations made against Puller by ACC

* ACC continued to defend its decision to refer Pullar to police, and said despite requests, police had not provided them with a copy of the recording

* Pullar appeared on TV3’s 60 Minutes saying her lawyer had played Stewart the recording which featured the senior managers, not Pullar, saying they wanted the mail back if her claim was resolved

* Opposition parties called on Collins to sack chairman John Judge and chief executive Ralph Stewart

*Prime Minister John Key said “valid questions” needed to be answered over apparently misleading comments by ACC executives about Pullar

* Collins announced John Judge would leave ACC. Deputy John McCliskie and director Rob Campbell’s contracts would also not be renewed

* ACC chief executive Ralph Stewart quits (now that “the carnival is over”)

Source: ACC saga: Opposition divided over Collins’ future

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