15 Jan 2014

ACC programme a cosy deal, says minister

12:56 pm on 15 January 2014

ACC Minister Judith Collins says the spending of $19 million on health and safety contracts over a decade has all the hallmarks of a taxpayer rort.

The corporation has announced it will not renew the contacts with Business New Zealand and the Council of Trade Unions for workplace health and safety training because they did not deliver value for money.

Ms Collins told Radio New Zealand's Summer Report programme on Wednesday the scheme is clearly not working and she does not intend to waste more money on it by taking further action, since the contracts are unlikely to be renewed.

The minister said the programme looked like a very cosy deal set up in 2003, leaving the people it aimed to help with nothing.

"I think it's pretty clear what happened and the review that's been undertaken by ACC has already shown that it has been a waste of money," she said.

"I actually think it has all the hallmarks of a rort."

Council of Trade Unions secretary Peter Conway has defended the contracts. "We certainly don't think the contract is a cosy deal. This provides value for money and the key issue is that a trained rep in a workplace is much more likely to spot hazards and know how to respond and that makes it a safer workplace." Business New Zealand had not commented on Wednesday morning.

A document issued on Tuesday by the Taxpayers Union, which says it acts for taxpayers, is an analysis by ACC staff of the effectiveness of the corporation's workplace health and safety representative training. It concludes that 84 cents of every dollar spent on training has been wasted.