29 Mar 2012

ACC Minister maintains she did not leak email

10:22 am on 29 March 2012

ACC Minister Judith Collins says she did not leak an email which is now part of a Privacy Commission inquiry.

On Wednesday Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff broadened her inquiry into the Accident Compensation Corporation to include looking at how the name of claimant Bronwyn Pullar ended up in the media.

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Terms of reference for an independent inquiry into how details of thousands of claims were mistakenly sent to the Auckland woman have already been drawn up.

In early March, Ms Pullar's name and information about her dealings with the ACC were leaked to a newspaper.

The information came from an email sent to Judith Collins by Ms Pullar's friend, former National Party president Michelle Boag, who says she did not leak it.

Labour Party MP Trevor Mallard says he has been told that National Party supporter Simon Lusk acted as a conduit between the ACC Minister and one of her blogger friends with the information.

Judith Collins denies any involvement in the matter. She told reporters on Wednesday that Simon Lusk is not someone she or her staff have dealings with.

When questioned in Parliament on Wednesday by Trevor Mallard, Ms Collins denied any involvement by Mr Lusk.

The chairman of the Accident Compensation Corporation board says the leak did not come from ACC.

Mallard questions powers of commissioner

On Thursday, Mr Mallard told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Wednesday he does not believe commissioner Marie Shroff has the powers or technical skills to find out how the email was leaked.

"The other thing that she can't do is, she can't put people on oath and she can't require information in the way that, for example a QC or a judge doing a ministerial inqiury could."

However, Mr Mallard says Ms Shroff may be able to bring in a contractor to do that work.