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ACC board cleaned out

ACC Minister Nick Smith has named four replacements for the corporation's board, turfing those who oversaw the cost blowouts that have left the National government in the lurch.

The government announced a near $3 billion blowout in the ACC books last month, a particularly diabolical present from the last Labour government, now being investigating for breaches of the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update (PREFU).

Dr Smith, backed by Prime Minister John Key, announced earlier this month that there would be changes to the staffing and directorship of the state owned enterprise, and promptly sacked chairman Ross Wilson.

He was replaced by John Judge, and today a further four changes have been announced, adding new members Rob Campbell, Murray Hilder, Jane Huria and John McCliskie.

“My priority has been getting top-flight governance skills with actuarial, cost control and investment management expertise. I have also endeavoured to provide for sufficient continuity to ensure a smooth transition to the government’s new direction,” Dr Smith says.

The new members replace Wayne Butson, Sara Lunam and Ngaruma Karaitiana. Mr Karaitiana offered his resignation on March 11, which the minister accepted, and another  board member, Dr Don Turkington, did not stand again on December 11, 2008.

Former chairman Ross Wilson wrote a letter to Dr Smith saying that the board had at all times acted properly, despite Dr Smith’s assertions that ACC’s performance had failed to meet its performance targets in six out of its seven measures of financial management.

In a letter to directors, Dr Smith says: “Over the past five years these [ACC] liabilities have more than doubled from $9.3 billion to $21.9 billion. Although the recent economic downturn has contributed tot his deterioration, the underlying reason has been the significant increases in ACC’s annual expenditure on claims rising from $1.9 billion in 2004/05 to the forecasted $3.2 billion in 2008/09.”

Issues of accountability and confidence were also cited by the minister who believes the previous board knew of the blowout in the Non-Earners’ Account but failed to mention this in the briefing to the incoming minister that was approved by the board.

John Judge is a former chief executive of Ernst and Young, and sits on several boards such as Te Papa, the University of Auckland and the University of Otago’s business schools.

Rob Campbell is an investment director for the private investment firm Tappenden Holdings and has more than 20 years' experience managing global portfolio and direct investments

Murray Hilder has 30 years' experience as an actuarial consultant. His background is in commercial management with strategic, financial, company taxation, human resource management and ICT project management.

Jane Huria is a director of HSR Governance, which provides corporate governance and shareholder advisory services both nationally and internationally. She is of Ngai Tahu descent, and has served on various Ngai Tahu commercial boards, including the Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation for six years.

John McCliskie is an experienced company director who has been involved in a range of small and medium enterprises, co-operatives and both corporate and government entities.

More by Allan Swann

Comments and questions
2

Hopefully these changes will lead to a commonsense re-prioritising of the policies of ACC, returning toward the original purpose it was set up for, rather than the welfare catch-all it has become under previous administration.

Many of the treatments funded by ACC are past their used by date. Treating people without results should not be funded by the tax payer. Many of the services offered are still funded when they don't get a result. The practioner should not take on the job, if he can't get the desired result and if he/she does and fails to get the desired result the funding should not be forwarded.
People should have more choice on the service they can use instead of the monoply we have at the moment

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