ACC has admitted providing misleading answers to questions about its spending of $450,000 on spin doctors since a mass privacy breach was revealed in March.
Initially, the corporation told The Dominion Post it had not employed any consultant public relations staff since the breach, but had an agreement with consultants Acumen Republic dating back to 2009.
It said it had paid Acumen $121,000 since July last year but, when more questions were asked, ACC said it “should have said” Acumen had actually lost its contract in an open tender last year.
A spokeswoman apologised for “any confusion”. Acumen had in fact been brought in and paid $103,000 since March for media and “issues management” advice.
ACC also confirmed it had paid another PR firm, Senate SJH, $347,000 for media and recruitment advice since March.
It is the second time this year that ACC has been caught providing misleading answers to questions from Fairfax reporters.
In April, general manager of claims management Denise Cosgrove admitted providing what she said were “cute” answers on the corporation gagging its vocational rehabilitation providers from criticising its new service.
She initially said there were no gagging clauses in its contracts with those providers, but later admitted there were four such clauses in other documents that providers had to sign.
She said her first answer, though technically correct, was “cute".
- © Fairfax NZ News
Family counts blessings after superbug scare (graphic content)
Rate the Government's 2013 Budget: