Key denies involvement in ACC scandal

Speaking on the 'Q+A ' programme this morning, John Key said he was never involved in any support or advisory arrangement with Bronwyn Pullar or Michelle Boag'.
Speaking on the 'Q+A ' programme this morning, John Key said he was never involved in any support or advisory arrangement with Bronwyn Pullar or Michelle Boag'.

Prime Minister John Key says his name was used without his authority in correspondence between Bronwyn Pullar and her insurer.

On Thursday Mr Key was dragged into the widening ACC scandal and forced to deny a report he was part of a group of senior National Party figures who backed Ms Pullar's bid for a $14 million insurance payout.

Ms Pullar is the former National Party insider and ACC claimant at the centre of a privacy furore at the state-owned corporation which has raised questions of cronyism and exercise of political influence within the party.

TVNZ current affairs programme Close Up said it had received a letter written by Sovereign Insurance to former National Party president Michelle Boag in 2007.

The letter named 28 people, among them prominent National Party figures including Mr Key and former Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley, as supporters of Ms Pullar as she sought a $14m payout from the company in relation to injuries she suffered in a 2002 cycling accident.

But speaking on Q+A this morning, Mr Key said he was never involved in the dispute.

"I'm not involved and have not been involved in any support or advisory arrangement with Bronwyn Pullar or Michelle Boag."

"It's not unusual for people to use my name, they do use it, they use it without my authority."

He has said he met Ms Pullar when he first entered politics - shortly after her accident - but had not had any contact with her since he became National Party leader.

His office could not find any contact between Mr Key and Ms Pullar in the past, nor did he have Ms Pullar's phone number, Mr Key said.

If anyone in his party had given Bronwyn Pullar any favours the issue would have been resolved, he said.

Last week Ms Pullar issued a statement in which she said the names referred to in the letter were "a list of known people who were aware of my dispute with the insurer, and who the insurer may encounter in the course of their business".

"This was in the context of us entering into negotiations to reach a confidential settlement. Provision of this list was necessary in case the insurer subsequently faced questions from these parties who had knowledge of the dispute."

Ms Pullar said she recalled only one conversation with Mr Key where she made him aware of her situation.

"It was at a National Party Christmas function in Auckland when he was the MP for Helensville. 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."

- APNZ

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