Herald Editorial on ACC saga

NZ Herald

The Herald editorial this morning is pretty much on the money, particularly with regard to the actions and motivations of Bronwyn Pullar:

Accident compensation claimant Bronwyn Pullar and her friend Michelle Boag say they have been vindicated by a tape recording they made at a meeting where they were said to have tried to take advantage of an email accident. But this tape leaves neither side with much credit.

Certainly, the tape has not recorded an overt threat in the terms that ACC officers alleged. But it remains strange that the subject was even raised at a meeting that was arranged, as Ms Boag says, purely to discuss Ms Pullar’s personal case. Why did she feel it relevant to tell the officers, “An email was sent to Bronwyn … and it contained thousands of elements of highly sensitive information … ,” before she returned to the subject of her friend’s needs?

Understandably, the officers inferred they were being offered a deal and the tape records that when one of them said, “I guess from our point of view, one of the things that when we reach a settlement … is we will want the information back”, Ms Boag replied, “Absolutely”.

She presents Ms Pullar to the public as a “whistle-blower” on the ACC’s shoddy computer security but whistle-blowers do not agree to suggestions that they remain quiet, or if they do they cannot claim to be acting purely in the public interest.

Bang on the money, and frankly her excuse for not deleting or handing back the data was simply not believable.

Ms Pullar has a long-running resentment of the ACC’s refusal to satisfy her claim. Nevertheless, when one of her email exchanges with her assessors accidentally dropped information on thousands of other people’s claims into her lap she ought to have either deleted the material immediately, or made the ACC’s privacy breach a matter of public knowledge very quickly, then deleted the evidence. Waiting three months can only suggest she was more interested in her own case.

Uh-huh…that has been what this is about all along…a petulant Pullar set on getting her own way in what ever means possible. When the meetings didn’t pan out like she wanted all of a sudden Phil Kitchin is writing bad articles. ACC then is in an unenviable position of not being able to defend itself due to privacy issues and having a “claimant” hurl shit all over the place.

I’m not defending ACC, but the Herald editorial rightly questions the motives of Pullar and by extension those of her “support person” Ms Boag.

There are definitely systemic issues in ACC, but what on earth does anyone expect from a state welfare behemoth that faces no competitive challenges which would help sharpen their work practices?

It seems though that the Herald is right and Judith Collins needs to swing the axe at the board level long, hard and deep.


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  • Johnbronkhorst

    “She did feel it relevant to tell officers..An EMail was sent……..” Really, isn’t that the EXACT opposite to what you have always been saying. That she DIDN’T inform them (at ACC)…but threatened them on the phone?…So now you are saying she shouldn’t have told you about the EMail???If not in a meeting with ACC then when???Seems ACC have been lying a lot and the Herald is now trying to paint Puller into this picture.

    • Simple really – they want this story to go on……have another look at the interview shown on TV – severely editted I know – Bronwyn actually says that.

  • ben

    As a lawyer there are many short comings with recorded audio as evidence, it doesn’t give any reward to the expressions or non-verbal communications in the room, for all we know boag could have sat there and smirked her way through the meeting and made it clear through other means that they had this data and there was an implied reference that they would be using it to procure concessions,

    The big question the reporters have no put to boag / pullar is why even raise this matter at that meeting for 5 mins or any other period if there was no intention implicitly or explicitly to negotiate an positive outcome as a result,

    If they had had a separate meeting with separate more relevant managers e.g. customer services manager or similar then their version of events may be more credible

    • And yet the Police have used that technique for how long?

    • Dr Wang

      ben – agree entirely. Didn’t Pullar/Boag say the tape had also had some editing to remove sensitive/private information? (cough, cough…)

      The absence of a clear verbal threat on the tape means nothing – the recording has been censored/edited. The ACC/Boag discussion on the tape clearly refers that the return of the ACC client details is part of some agreement, but we don’t hear the discussion that lays out these details. Everything points to what is NOT on the recording.

      • Had another listen to the show and Boag/Pullar didn’t say anything about the tape being editted – the interviewer told us she’d editted bits before broadcasting.

    • Having been interviewed by the Police, they use video…and you can have a copy of the DVD produced at the time.

      • Probably one the the great things about today’s technology is this ability and also having the date/time stamp showing throughout.

    • Johnbronkhorst

      Irrelavant assumption. You can’t make a case around maybe. Alls said and done it would appear that puller and boag a painted,all be it a greyer shade of white, but ACC are definately on the browner side of bullshit!

  • AzaleaB

    When I read the article on the weekend my only thought was “will this woman never shut up!”

    • She has a head injury and resulting trauma, including ability to easily rationalise and sustain clear thoughts anymore. Plus she is being “hounded” still, sooner or later she had to come out and TELL her own view, not someone elses opinion of what she said to them.

      • AzaleaB

        …understand but it just keeps the story alive and in my view, will only cause her more grief and the rest of us – frustration. There are more important issues to deal with in NZ ( if only the journo’s realised this). She is not doing herself any favours…telling her own story after so many articles will not help but merely raise her to our level of consciousness again and trigger annoyance….and repeat visits by journalists and the cycle continues… 

      • No she doesn’t….but bear in mind she can talk all she likes but the moment ACC talks about her she screams privacy issues…talking about beating up a gagged and bound opponent.

      • Pharmachick

        People with head injuries *may* need expert intervention from psychiatrists, therapists, ACC, mediators-with-ACC, etc … 

        In general “media intervention” is not a recognized course of therapy for head injury. Therefore:1) Ms. Pullar seems to be seeking a non-standard course of action that may well be inadvisable. 2) So who is advising her to do this, and why?3) Will Ms Pullar’s advisor (Ms. Boag) be standing for a seat in the next election?4) The NZ media are lapping this up with great abandon, and along the way, their stunningly high journalistic integrity is clearly demonstrated, NOT!5) in general, very few that have received head injuries are so psychologically impaired that they don’t understand manipulation, out-of-court settlements etc. 

  • Grandstream

    Sorry, cant believe the NZ Horrid have got this anywhere near being correct.
    I think the PM is correct in saying that ACC have some questions to answer on this.  I cant get over the fact that ACC managers in question just didnt apologise and move on.  I cant believe that Green MP Hague has got it right calling for John Judges head on a plate – he has been misled badly by the CEO and his managers.  Judge turned ACC round from nearly a $5b hole, which wasnt done by treating everyone like a crook – the culture at ACC was bad before he took over, and it takes years to make changes to such a large beast.  The only crook Judge dealt with was former director Mike “fat bastard” Williams whom he righfully sacked.

    • In Vino Veritas

      No one can believe Hague has got it right Grand. The Greens couldnt succesfully manage a KFC in Otara with busloads of people arriving to eat tucker paid for by Labour, let alone ACC. Judge is a seriously clever, and bright businessman (he’d certainly run rings around Cunliffe and Parker, that’s for sure).

    • Gazzaw

      Just how many troughs does Williams have his snout in?

      • Blokeintakapuna

        as many as he get it in… and a few more if possible – just as back up

      • Grandstream

        Less now without his labour mates making appointments……and soon to be less if his best mate Paul Holmes doesnt recover the strength to blackmail/bribe people into hiring his old chum Mike Williams…..eg Stellar Trust, Howard League etc etc……

      • Fozzie

         How many has this Rebstock got her nose in – always a worry when governmnnts put so much power in the hands of so few !

  • Silvertop

    Pullman used the same tactics, implicit threat, to screw $1m out of Sovereign…..

  • Mark

    The Herald Article is fair.  Neither Pullar nor Boag come out of this with any credit or their reputations in tact.  Collins has her hands full with ACC and introducing competition would certainly drive better behaviours. 

    • AnonWgtn

      It still smells to me !

  • captain Kidd

    I have had dealings with ACC even took them to mediation and won and still they refused to pay.Three seperate times they emailed me with someone elses files,I had to ask for my file.They are completly hopeless and unlike my insurance company have no regard for what should be their customer.The sooner they are sold to private enterprise the better.

  • Liberty

    The Herald speaks
    with fork tongue.

     “Bang on the money, and frankly her excuse for
    not deleting or handing back the data was simply not believable”

    I believe the “Tea tape”  was passed on to the Herald.  

    How long did the Herald
    take to delete?

    • Blokeintakapuna

      never let the complete truth get in the way of a good story….

  • Anonymouscoward

    Ross Wilson, the former chairman, would have handled this better.

  • captain Kidd

    Personaly I thought that she came across rather good,however the two bosses looked uncomfortable.

  • oldfella

    Firstly Pullar is badly head injured. Please try to keep that in mind. She cannot now – or ever be –  normal again and therefore doesnt – in fact cant – react how you think a “normal” person should.
    Too easy to tall poppy knock her because of her previous high flying life and friends but she is simply not that person anymore. Her head is permanently damaged.

    Second, she has clearly been fucked over by ACC right from the start of her claim. Think pet ACC surgeon who made a critical report diametrically oposed to her own surgeons report without ever even having met Pullar for christs sake! When finally found out had to withdraw. ACC are the master at this. They have all your taxpayer money at their command and can afford to obfuscate for years, in fact as long as it takes for you to finally give up and piss off.

    ACC see it as good management to save money. They are professionals after all! Yeah right! In reality once someone in the organistion takes a personal dislike, they actively colour their coleagues opinions and then they collectively become just another nasty mean spirited pack of cunts regardless of any objective evidence put in front of them. I say good on Pullar for not giving up despite being so poorly dealt to for some years!

    God forbid you ever have to make a claim once you are older than 40. You will suddenly find that you have all sorts of degenerative age related disorders and your claim will be turned down despite the fact that you were fine before your accident and now you’re buggered because of it.
    As Captain Kidd and many others have found out, unless you have the wherewithal to challenge them in mediation or worse in court you will end up just as disatisfied as Pullar is.

    I think ACC are a pack of arse covering lying bastards from the top down. To my mind the privacy breach is a red herring and small bananas in this case – has ANY detail of any sort however small actually been released to the public? – no.

    The real scandal is Pullar is just one of many people with real and justifiable claims being very poorly served and lied to by ACC.

    Get off your arse and get on with it Minister Collins. ACC needs to be brought to account now.

    • Guest

      My disectomy and decompression operation on a prolapsed disc sailed straight through the ACC system with no questions asked, despite prior injury history and being an over-weight, unemployed 55yo at the time.
      I think the real problem is the uneven handedness of the system. A lot comes down to the way your GP/medical specialist present the claim in the first place – get that wording wrong and you open the loopholes for ACC.

      • I think is very simple actually – it’s the same as society itself deals with anything associated with the head – a physical injury is fine – you can see it and if it doesn’t heal properly you can also see that – head injuries are not that simple – it’s our whole central processing system and noone knows enough about how it works in the first place to determine what went wrong, where and why, and especially how to fix it – or even if it can be fixed.

      • AzaleaB

        Lucky you. A close friend has surgery this month for a stuffed back. ACC declined his claim even though it was related to falliong off a tractor during hay making. Said it was degenerative.

        Lucky he has private insurance – ironically Sovereign who have been fantastic to him.

  • beanyboy

    What I did find interesting was when I was driving through Ponsonby and saw Michelle Boag, Bronwyn Pullar, Melanie Reid and a camera man strolling down Ponsonby Road, presumably after the interview on 60 minutes was taped. As they all departed Melanie Reid gave Bronwyn Pullar quite a long hug before rubbing her back and Ms Pullar appeared to be smiling, now I’m all for empathy, but, given that Melanie Reid holds herself out as a journalist why would she do this? If you become involved then surely objectivity goes with it? and the ability to see real facts?I realise that I already know the answer, and I also know I do NOT know the facts in the case, its more a passing comment on the MSM in New Zealand.

    • jay cee

      i too got the feeling from the programme that from the get go ms pullar was being portrayed as the victim and acc the bad guy aided and abetted by ms reids questions.

      • guest

        Did I hear something in the program that indicated that Reid has known about Pullar’s ACC fight for a number of years, or was I just imagining it? With Pullar’s PR/politics/press(?) background it wouldn’t surprise me if they had known each other for years. If so, what are the odds that they are friends? And that bias in the program is not a surprise?

        No balance to the article. No comment from ACC doesn’t help. But there was no attempt to shed further light eg. 1) independent/legal interpretation/comment on the tape 2) independent medical comment on Pullar’s injury.

        I think that Pullar/Boag are less than innocent in this, but ACC Board, CEO, managers, medical experts look far worse.

  • Thesorrow&thepity

    Michelle Boag is rat poison! Nats need to stand well clear of her! As for Pullar she’s got bunny boiler stamped all over her forehead!

  • OK so who watched TV3 News tonight – Mr Bean doing his cross live from Parliament and who’s in the background trying to look inconspicuous (spelling?) hiding behind a column but Ms Boag!!!