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Questions over ACC board's credibility

Monday 11 Jun 2012 5:15 p.m.

By Patrick Gower

When Bronwyn Pullar tried to argue her case in a meeting with ACC the corporation accused her of blackmail and called in the police.

But it appears there was no proof - and ACC chief-executive Ralph Stewart should have known that because he was played a recording of the meeting soon after the police complaint.

At Wellington's St Paul's Cathedral, in a private room, Ms Pullar's lawyer played the recording to Mr Stewart, and gave the group of ACC representatives a transcript to read, but not to keep.

Yet neither Mr Stewart nor the ACC chairman John Judge mentioned that at a news conference last week after police rejected the complaint.

“It was not released to us,” Mr Judge and Mr Stewart told reporters.

“I don’t know how they can go on national television and mislead New Zealanders,” says Ms Puller.

And Green MP Kevin Hague agrees.

“Ralph Stewart and John Judge have effectively misled the public and the minister,” says Mr Hague.

But the recording is important because it shows Ms Pullar - who was mistakenly sent more than 6000 private ACC files - was not holding ACC to ransom as it had claimed.

“ACC has been under a siege mentality – ‘we do no wrong and we’re not going to back down’,” says Labour MP Andrew Little.

So now serious questions about the credibility of those at the very top of ACC have been raised and Judith Collins will be forced to address them in Parliament tomorrow.

The main one she faces is ‘how can she have confidence in the ACC board?’

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