New contract to 'rebalance' ACC targets

ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 08:11 28/06/2012

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ACC Minister Judith Collins will set out tough new expectations in a new contract with the troubled corporation - to be tabled in Parliament today.

The document is a rolling three-year service and purchase agreement between the Government and the state insurer.

It is understood to be a long way from an agreement signed in June 2010 by former minister Nick Smith, which focused on financial performance, and will "rebalance" its objectives.

Dr Smith and board chairman John Judge – who was let go this month – agreed ACC would get rid of 1150 long-term clients a year.

Ms Collins, who is in China, has said she wants to drive a "culture change" to restore public confidence in the corporation.

In April, she said: "ACC must follow a fair process for assessing their eligibility and ensuring they receive fair entitlements."

The corporation has been attacked this year for operating a policy in which thousands of long-term clients – branded "low-hanging fruit" – were shed.

The strategy paid staff bonuses to get clients off its lists. And the poor treatment of clients culminated in the Bronwyn Pullar saga – which claimed the scalps of Dr Smith, Mr Judge, chief executive Ralph Stewart and three other board members.

ACC called police after Ms Pullar went public with a mass privacy breach of the details of 6000 claimants. Police found no case to answer.

Green Party ACC spokesman Kevin Hague told Parliament yesterday that adjudicator Dispute Resolution Services had upheld almost half of the appeals lodged by long-term claimants kicked off ACC's books in 2012.

He also revealed that the district court had also overturned half of ACC decisions upheld by Dispute Resolution Services.

Prime Minister John Key said that "over the past six years the average percentage of disputed decisions found in the corporation's favour is 71.8 per cent".

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To say that "because a few cases go against the corporation, everything is broken there, is just simply incorrect".

Opposition parties yesterday criticised ACC for offering compensation worth $250 to victims of the data leak.

Labour's ACC spokesman Andrew Little said the offer heaped "injustice upon injustice".

- Fairfax Media

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