I left NZ 10 years ago, largely to get away from the hopeless laws pertaining to copyright ownership on images for photographers - in short, having commissioned a shoot, the commissioning agent (read client) automatically owned copyright on the images. This was unacceptable to me, and I thought I would pursue my career in Australia, where I continue to work.
I believe ACP largely used its Auckland office as a testing ground for its exploitative practices, which it then extended into the Sydney market. I last worked for them in 1997, and had no desire to continue the association beyond then - I simply did not want to dish up my work to them on a platter to own ad infinitum.
I am not surprised that Des W has not been asked to sign a contract by ACP, as I suspected that this was the case with the publisher - get who you can to sign, but if you really want them to shoot irregardless....well...just let the contract slide.
I advised a fellow photographer who works out of Byron Bay not to sign the ACP contract, though he went ahead and did so in any case. The funny thing is that he is probably one the few photographers working in his style and at his level in the Byron area. He could have simply said 'no', and let the picture editors scratch around trying to find someone else up there to work for their meager day rates. Easton who writes from Newcastle could have done the same. I mean, really, if nobody signs, no dice, right?