Improving "trust and confidence" has replaced "cost containment" as the beleagured Accident Compensation Corporation's number one priority for the coming year in an agreement with its minister Judith Collins released today.
ACC's Service and Purchase Agreement for the 2012-13 year was signed earlier this week by chairman John Judge.
Mr Judge steps down as chairman at the end of this week after a disastrous three months for the corporation.
Since March, the corporation has grappled with a privacy breach scandal, an failed attempt to prosecute claimant and former National Party insider Bronwyn Pullar for blackmail and an increasing spotlight on its controversial strategy to move costly long term claimants off its books.
The top priority for the corporation as set out in this year's agreement is "Improved Trust and Confidence".
Its second priority is "Improved management and security of private information".
Last year's top priority was "Cost Containment" and within that, then-Minister Nick Smith said the corporation should demonstrate it was making progress in reducing its claims liabilities.
Any mention of cost containment or claims liability reduction was entirely absent from the priorities in this year's agreement.
In a statement this afternoon, Ms Collins said New Zealanders rightfully expected to be able to trust ACC and its integrity "and for ACC to ensure entitlements are delivered transparently and fairly to those who need them".
"For claimants with a genuine need and a right to support, ACC must follow a fair process for assessing their eligibility and ensuring they receive fair entitlements."
ACC has been increasingly under fire from claimants who say they are being denied compensation unfairly. Data obtained by the Herald early this week showed the corporation is increasingly getting its decisions about entitlements for long term claimants wrong.By Adam Bennett Email Adam