27 Mar 2012

Minister calls ACC chair to Parliament

7:54 pm on 27 March 2012

The chairman of the ACC board has been called to Parliament by ACC Minister Judith Collins to discuss the privacy breach involving claimant Bronwyn Pullar.

The Auckland woman was mistakenly emailed private details of thousands of claims last year.

National MP Nick Smith resigned from his ministerial portfolios last week because of his involvement in Ms Pullar's case, and Opposition parties are pushing for an independent investigation.

In Parliament on Tuesday, Judith Collins was asked if she has confidence in the board of the Accident Compensation Corporation. She replied yes.

But earlier in the day when she was asked by a reporter if she has confidence in chairman John Judge, her answer was not so clear cut.

Ms Collins said she had a lot of confidence in the work he had done for the board, particularly around the financial state of the ACC.

But she said she was very concerned about privacy issues at the ACC, and spoke to him about that in a meeting in her Beehive office on Monday night.

Ms Collins also says her office is not responsible for leaking information about Ms Pullar to the media.

That information came from an email sent by former National Party president Michelle Boag to the Minister.

"It was sent to me and to one staff member in my office. My staff member sent it to the chairman and to the chief executive. That's it," Ms Collins says.

She says she will not speculate on where the leak came from.

Ms Boag says she was not responsible for the leak.

Labour wants Auditor General to investigate

The Labour Party is continuing to push for a wider inquiry into the breach, and the way the corporation has dealt with it.

The Privacy Commissioner and police are already looking at aspects of the case, but Labour's deputy leader Grant Robertson says a full investigation by the Auditor-General is needed.

"Ministerial conduct, the conduct of the ACC board, and also the other privacy issues which the Privacy Commissioner is dealing with.

"This is a much wider inquiry than can be dealt with either by the Privacy Commissioner or by the police, and that's why the Auditor General should be looking at it."

Mr Robertson says there are questions around the board's involvement in Ms Pullar's case.

"What we know at this stage is that a board member was approached by Bronwyn Pullar.

"What we don't know all the answers to is what then happened in terms of how ACC management got involved and what was the board member's role."