National dumps worker reps from ACC board

Written By: - Date published: 5:49 pm, March 31st, 2009 - 13 comments
Categories: ACC, national/act government, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

Nick Smith announced National’s changes to the ACC board this afternoon. As expected they’ve kicked Wayne Butson and Ross Wilson off the board, meaning ACC no longer has any worker representation.

In their place are a mixed bag of company directors and consultants headed by an affiliate member of the Business Roundtable.

This isn’t just some partisan clearing out of Labour-friendly board members. This is about class. National is moving steadily to remove worker voices from public institutions, and it’s replacing them with their chums in the business elite.

There’s only one reason they’d dump the worker reps from ACC, and that’s to fundamentally realign ACC to serve the interests of business rather than workers and, ultimately, to prepare it for privatisation.

13 comments on “National dumps worker reps from ACC board”

  1. Hilary 1

    Are any of the new members from the disability sector? The board could do with that expertise.

  2. gingercrush 2

    Rob Campbell is an investment director for the private investment and custodial business firm Tappenden Holdings Ltd. Mr Campbell has more than 20 years experience managing global portfolio and direct investments. His governance experience includes directorship to public and private sector organisations, including being Chairman of the Government Printing Office, Deputy Chairman of the Bank of New Zealand and being on the Establishment Board of New Zealand Post. Mr Campbell is a former Secretary of the Distribution Workers Federation, and a former member of the National Executive of the Federation of Labour.

    So there is someone who has workers interests.


    Anyway Nick Smith made huge changes dumping 3 other board members on top of those two union people. So the idea that he was all-out to dump union members simply doesn’t cut it. But besides that, how many of those union members actually represent real workers? Ross Wilson hardly has much in common with workers. You call the new members elitist. That in itself is fair. But many union leaders tend to be very elite themselves and hardly in touch with the workers they’re suppose to represent.

    • Tane 2.1

      I did read that gc.

      Rob Campbell used to be involved in the labour movement decades ago before he went into business. He’s not a bad guy, but he’s certainly not a workers’ representative.

      Also, a question. Have you ever met Ross Wilson or Wayne Butson?

      • gingercrush 2.1.1

        No I have not met Ross Wilson or Wayne Butson. I’m sure they believe they do things for workers interests. I don’t deny that. I’m saying once you’re getting appointed to government boards etc you are part of the elite. Which means, you are going to find it really difficult to understand the pains of workers etc.

        It reminds me of the Greens. On one hand you’d expect lower income voters to vote for them because their policies have more for workers than any other party including Labour. The problem is, they have other issues and policies that means they can’t connect with workers.

  3. It may come as a bit of a shock to you that I have some sympathy for your view on this change to the ACC board. But, my concerns are more about national doing the same as labour. Sacking Labour’s fellow travelers and replacing them with nationals fellow travelers makes me sick. Many of us were hoping we would see the new government move away from grace and favour appointments that were the hallmark of the red team.

    • Patrick 3.1

      To be fair Barnsley Its now like a big melting pot. you now have The Standard dumping NZ workers for cheaper offshore deals.
      IPrent stated “Moved the server to an off-shore site. There are many reasons for this. But the basic one is that I can get equivalent or better service offshore for about a tenth of the local price’
      Must be hard for Tane to point fingers these days- because sooner or later….

      • lprent 3.1.1

        That post will be back in a couple of days when I do the move. Had to give up last night due to DNS issues.

        It isn’t just a 10% or 20% difference. 10 times cheaper is a significant difference, especially for a voluntary operation with no funds.

        The relative freedom from some dickhead with vexatious and unsubstantiated legal issues is worth even more.

        Of course if the government put more effort into the justice system so that civil cases don’t take two years and cost megabucks… But they just capped the ‘core’ including the justice system. So that probably means that court times will increase.

        They did leave the police and corrections in – so I’d expect on the criminal side that they’re planning on extending the delays and leaving more people on remand.Who voted these fuckwits in? They couldn’t manage a well-timed fart.

        I’ll do the final shift on thursday. Turned out the default TTL was 24 hours.

  4. r0b 4

    Many of us were hoping we would see the new government move away from grace and favour appointments that were the hallmark of the red team.

    Yeah good luck with that. Good luck with keeping the tax cuts that were “the only thing that matters” to you too.

    National are a bunch of venal politicians in it only for themselves and their mates in big business. They said what they needed to say to get elected. Now they have three years to do as they please. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Sucker.

    • r0b 4.1

      Just to be clear, I think that cancelling the future tax cuts is exactly the right thing to do. But I’m expecting quite a torrent of outrage from BB and those like him that voted only with their wallets.

  5. Santi 5

    You call these people worker reps? No doubt the workers are stuffed and going nowhere fast with this kind of representation.

  6. Observer 6

    What have “XXX Reps” got to do with Boards of Directors of SOEs?

    While Strategy and Policy may be decided by Boards of Private companies, this is not so in the public sector. The ‘products’ of ACC asre not determined strategically by its board, nor are their prices, they are decided politically by the Government of the day. The purpose of an SOE Board is, surely, to ensure that the Government’s requirements are being met and that the business is being managed effecively and efficiently. It is clear that the usurped Board did not handle the second part of this vharge very well, as ACC management did not ensure its share-holding Ministers were properly aware of the changes to pricing required to meet the Government’s changes to proucts and services supplied by the Corporation.

    The investment portfolio of ACC (i.e. the money held to pay out against known future liabilities) is perhaps the best managed fund in New Zealand, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be strong capability on the Board to review their plans and critique them.

    By the same token, ACC has annual revenues in excess of a billion dollars, and non-comensation & care expenses measured in hundreds of millions of dollars. It is right and proper that the budgets and actual results for these revenue and expense streams should be properly reviewed and challenged as appropriate.

    Finally, ACC is a company that must contantly fgorecast it’s accepted and predicted liabilities in order to ensure it has appropriate plans in place to cover them. As medical science progresses at a pace undreamed of in the past, so future costs escallate and provisions made last year for injuries incurred ten years ago are proven to be inadequate. This reuires a board to be able to understand the intricacies of that medical science and their potential to impact the corporation, and the mysteries of actuarial calculations and their ipact on accruals and forecasts.

    Having representatives of “the workers” onm the ACC board does nothing to ensure the Management and business are appropriately governed. The place for a workers lobby, when it comes to ACC, is at the doors of the Prime Minister, Cabinet and the ACC Minister, where policy related to ACC cover is formulated, otherwise we should add to the board representatives of sport players, domestic godesses, vehicle drivers, and even (Gaia forbid,) the medical implement and drug manufacturers.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    I really do wish people would stop calling them the business elite. They really aren’t even though they like to think that they are.

    [Tane: By elite I mean they run the show. Having dealt with a few I can assure you I’m not saying they’re in any way smarter or wiser than the rest of us.]

  8. Santi 8

    Hell will freeze over the day someone proves Ross Wilson is smarter than your average punter. The non-performing board members deserved the kick in the backside.

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