Coddington on Pullar and Boag

Herald on Sunday

Deborah Coddington lets fly about Bronwyn Pullar and Michelle Boag:

The legs-eleven story this week has been ACC’s carelessness in emailing 6752 clients’ private details to National Party stalwart (some might say nightmare) Bronwyn Pullar. More than 200 of these cases are what is known as sensitive claims, meaning they concern people who have been sexually abused.

Pullar had a history with ACC. Things had reached a point, apparently, where she needed a meeting with senior managers, so former National Party president and friend Michelle Boag sat in as Pullar’s “support person”. We still don’t know for sure who said what to whom, but apparently at that meeting ACC was told about this security breach, alleged threats were made of making that breach public, the words “going forward” were mentioned, and a two-year benefit was discussed.

Now the matter is in the hands of the police, and Privacy Commissioner Marie Schroff has launched an inquiry into the leak.

Furthermore, two dyed-in-the-wool National Party women, not the Opposition, have forced Nick Smith to resign from Cabinet.

With friends like Bronwyn Pullar and Michelle Boag few people actually need enemies.

But back up the truck. What business was it of Pullar’s when she first received files which didn’t concern her? She obviously read them, because we were told she recognised a few of the sexual abuse victims as well-known New Zealanders.

At worst, this is a sorry saga of people who have possibly crossed the line of the law, or the principles of the Privacy Act, because they couldn’t mind their own business. Why didn’t Pullar just give the files back to ACC?

And if, as Boag now claims, the meeting was to assist ACC with security problems, why not go to the Privacy Commissioner, who is empowered to do just that, without taking action against ACC, without going public, without upsetting 6752 ACC clients? Somehow, this excuse from the PR maven doesn’t wash.

Exactly what I have been saying. Michelle Boag didn’t attend that meeting with Bronwyn Pullar as a support person…if she truly wanted a support person why not her fiancé and now husband…no…instead she took Michelle Boag, to put the frighteners on ACC, just like they did to Pullar’s insurance company.

Mary Wilson on Checkpoint interviewed an ACC specialist claimant barrister, unsurprised by the leak, who said he’s been receiving wrong files “regularly” for six years, and immediately sends them back.

The Privacy Act was put in place for good reason – to protect us from Big Brother sharing information. To make ACC claims, under the Privacy Act clients almost have to sign their lives away, allowing the agency to collect personal information from their family doctor and other sources. So this careless leak was a massive breach of trust by ACC.

But in my opinion, Pullar and, by association, Michelle Boag, have compounded that breach by their actions.

Precisely. Coddington has nailed it. Reasonable people hand back information. Unreasonable people keep it for whatever purpose suits their nefarious purposes.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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