ACC announces board appointments

The woman who chaired the Government's hard-nosed welfare working group has been appointed to the board of ACC.

The appointment of former Commerce Commission head Paula Rebstock to the board was announced by ACC Minister Nick Smith this afternoon.

Actuary and financial consultant Jill Spooner has also been appointed to the board and existing member John McCliskie has been made deputy chairman.

The appointments are for three years, and come as ACC copes with big rises in costs and pressure on services.

Several initiatives introduced by Labour, including physiotherapy entitlements, have been wound back by National.

ACC has also moved to a ''risk-rating'' model for employers - meaning those with safer workplaces pay less and those with higher accident rates pay more - and National plans to open the no fault insurer's employers account to competition.

Rebstock headed the Commerce Commission from 2003 to 2009, and most recently chaired the welfare working group, which was set up to tackle ballooning benefit costs and devise ways to move more claimants into work.

Its final report in February recommended sweeping reforms aimed at cutting the number of beneficiaries by 100,000 within ten years, including work-testing DPB claimants when their youngest child reaches three years and tougher work tests for sickness beneficiaries.

Smith said the ACC appointments would widen the range of skills at the board table as the corporation sought to reduce costs further.

''The challenge for the ACC Board is to continue its excellent work, which has seen a reduction in the net liability from $12.8 billion in 2008/09 to $10.3 billion.''

Smith also paid tribute to ACC chief executive Jan White, who announced yesterday that she was leaving after five years in the job.

He said she was an ''outstanding'' chief executive and he regretted that she would not continue in the role.