Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

John Judge replaced as ACC chair

ACC chairman John Judge. File photo / Glen Jeffrey
ACC chairman John Judge. File photo / Glen Jeffrey

ACC chairman John Judge is to go following fresh revelations about the Bronwyn Pullar privacy breach this week but ACC Minister Judith Collins still backs his decision to lay a complaint with police against Ms Pullar.

Ms Collins announced this afternoon Mr Judge would leave ACC on June 30 and he would be replaced by an acting chair, current director Paula Rebstock, until a permanent replacement was found.

Pressure on Mr Judge and ACC chief executive Ralph Stewart has been mounting since TV3's 60 Minutes programme on Sunday broadcast a recording of controversial meeting between Ms Pullar and corporation managers.

ACC in March laid a complaint with police alleging Ms Pullar made threats that unless she received a guaranteed benefit she would reveal to the media that ACC had breached thousands of client's privacy by mistakenly sending her a file in August last year.

But following an initial investigation, the police last week said no evidence of an offence by Ms Pullar had been disclosed.

Furthermore, the recording played on 60 Minutes suggests it was ACC managers who first raised a deal for the return of the leaked information.

However, Ms Collins mentioned none of this in her statement this afternoon, instead she said Mr Judge was taking up the role of chair of the ANZ National Bank on June 23.

"Mr Judge's new role is a significant appointment and will require even more of his time than his current role as a director.

Speaking to reporters, Ms Collins said she'd met with Mr Judge this morning to talk about his departure, a matter they had been discussing for "some time".

"Mr Judge agreed with me that it would be appropriate given his new role and the fact that to bring in the new culture into ACC that I want to see, improving on the work that's already been done it would appropriate for him to step down."

Ms Collins said she supported the ACC board and management's decision to lay the complaint with police.

"I have confirmed and backed their decision on the basis of the information they had at that time and I don't know what else they could have done faced with the information they had from their managers."

She said the decision to go to the police was made by Mr Judge and Mr Stewart, and that decision was also backed by from their legal team.

She could not say "with any certainty" whether the matter was discussed with her before
the complaint was made to police.

Ms Collins would not comment on whether Mr Stewart should remain as chief executive of the corporation, saying that was a matter for the board.

- NZ Herald

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