Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Labour disputes Boag's account

Michelle Boag. File photo / Brett Phibbs
Michelle Boag. File photo / Brett Phibbs

Labour has rubbished Michelle Boag's explanation of why John Key's name was used in support of her friend Bronwyn Pullar's $14 million insurance claim in 2007 while Mr Key was Leader of the Opposition.

Former National Party president Ms Boag was in damage control mode yesterday as the ongoing ACC fiasco, centred on her ACC claimant friend and former party activist Ms Pullar, drew in the Prime Minister and other prominent party members.

It emerged this week that a letter Sovereign Insurance wrote to Ms Boag in 2007 referred to 28 people it identified as members of Ms Pullar's "claimed support/advisory team" including Mr Key, Dame Jenny Shipley, and former minister Wayne Mapp.

But Ms Boag yesterday denied the names were a list of supporters.

"One of her advisers, anticipating that a confidential settlement might be reached, said it would be wise to include all the people who were aware of the dispute so that if any of them asked afterwards, Bronwyn would not be accused of breaching confidentiality."

But Labour's ACC spokesman, Andrew Little, said that explanation lacked credibility.

"I have severe doubts that what she said is the case," he said.

In a statement yesterday, Ms Pullar said she recalled only one conversation with Mr Key where she made him aware of her situation and that was before he became leader of the National Party. "I was very distressed at the time and I took the opportunity to vent my frustrations.

"He listened politely, but I did not ask him to do anything and he did not offer to assist."

Mr Key denies being involved in a support team for Ms Pullar.

Sovereign yesterday said it would not release the correspondence that preceded its 2007 letter unless Ms Boag and Ms Pullar gave their consent. Ms Pullar refused to do so.

Ms Pullar is the woman who was mistakenly sent the private information of 6700 other ACC clients in July last year and allegedly tried to use it as leverage to secure benefits.

Police are now investigating.

And the Privacy Commissioner is investigating ACC's privacy policies and matters around the leak of information to the media.

Opposition parties want an independent inquiry into Ms Pullar's use of her political links in pursuit of ACC claims for cycling injuries.

- NZ Herald

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