Hamish Walker – admission and apology over leak

National MP Hamish Walker:

A Personal Statement And An Apology

I have spoken to National Party Leader Todd Muller and informed him that I passed to members of the media, by email, information containing Covid-19 patient details that was given to me by a source.

I did this to expose the Government’s shortcomings so they would be rectified. It was never intended that the personal details would be made public, and they have not been, either by me or the persons I forwarded them to.

I have received legal advice that I have not committed any criminal offence.

The information that I received was not password protected by the Government. It was not stored on a secure system where authorised people needed to log on. There was no redaction to protect patient details, and no confidentiality statement on the document.

By exposing a significant privacy issue I hope the Government will improve its protocols and get its safeguards right.

I made serious allegations against the Government’s Covid-19 response and passed on this information to prove those allegations.

Private health information does not have basic safeguards in place and the Government needs to immediately change its protocols and store the information on a secure, safe network that at a minimum requires a password.

I sincerely apologise for how I have handled this information and to the individuals impacted by this. I will be fully cooperating with the Michael Heron QC inquiry.

National leader Todd Muller:

Statement On Hamish Walker

Hamish Walker has informed me that he received and then disclosed health information regarding active Covid-19 cases to members of the media.

I have asked Hamish to acknowledge this to Michael Heron QC and cooperate fully with his inquiry into how the information made it into the public domain.

I have expressed to Hamish my view that forwarding on this information was an error of judgement.

While I wait for the result of the inquiry I have transferred his Forestry, Land Information and Associate Tourism portfolio responsibilities to Ian McKelvie.

Given this matter is the subject of an inquiry I will not be making any further public comment.


UPDATE: Michelle Boag has admitted passing the information on to Walker.

From RNZ: National MP Hamish Walker admits leaking Covid-19 patient details

In a statement, Boag said that handing on the patient details to Walker was “a massive error of judgement on my part and I apologise to my colleagues at ARHT (Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust) whom I have let down badly”.

“I very much regret my actions and did not anticipate that Hamish would choose to send it on to some media outlets but I am grateful that the media involved have chosen not to publish the 18 names that were contained within it.

She said she had resigned from her role at the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust.

“I take full responsibility for my actions and have resigned as acting CEO of ARHT.”

Boag was the National Party’s president in 2001 and 2002.

Boag was also linked to the leadership coup when Muller replaced Simon Bridges.

From  memory she was also involved in the management of Todd Barclay before he exited the same Clutha-Southland electorate taken over by Walker.

This is very damaging for National regardless of how it pans out from here.


Press Statement From Michelle Boag

Today I am announcing that I am the person who passed on details of current Covid19 cases to Clutha Southland MP Hamish Walker, who then passed on that information to a number of media outlets.

The information was made available to me in my position as then Acting CEO of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, although it was sent to my private email address.

This was a massive error of judgement on my part and I apologise to my colleagues at ARHT whom I have let down badly.

I very much regret my actions and did not anticipate that Hamish would choose to send it on to some media outlets  but I am grateful that the media involved have chosen not to publish the 18 names that were contained within it.

I take full responsibility for my actions and have resigned as Acting CEO of ARHT, which is in very good hands as the result of a recent restructure and the appointment of a new CEO for the Trust’s operations and the appointment of a General Manager to oversee the Trusts’s marketing and fundraising operations.

I sincerely hope that the communities of the Auckland region will continue to support the Rescue Helicopter at this time of very important need.  My actions were mine alone and should not reflect at all on the professionalism, integrity and outstanding reputation of the Rescue Helicopter staff.    They are an amazing bunch of dedicated community servants and I know they will be very disappointed in me.

Any requests for comment should be directed to me personally as ARHT bears no responsibility at all for my misjudgement.

Leave a comment

35 Comments

  1. John J Harrison

     /  7th July 2020

    Now we have it confirmed that Michelle Boag obtained this information and sent it on to Walker.
    Boag is an absolute failure and an embarrassment to all concerned.
    Walker is a dick to take her suggestion to forward the list on.
    Not a criminal offense but absolutely dumb.
    At least Walker will have 100% name recognition down south – in fact right throughout the country.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  7th July 2020

      Dirty Politics all over again. Only waited till an enquiry was announced to come clean.
      2nd strike this week for Walker, can he survive his massive fails

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  7th July 2020

        That’s what’s so weird. Walker & Boag must have known there’d be an enquiry. It’s such an obvious thing to expect. I took it as a matter of course one would be announced as soon as the news media said they’d got these details.

        Reply
    • Blazer

       /  7th July 2020

      He’s racking up quite a record as one incompetent ,no talent M.P….totally lacking any principles.

      Reply
  2. Duker

     /  7th July 2020

    [Deleted, don’t make accusations like that here, there’s a lot of things I don’t post about for various reasons (mainly time). PG]
    national Party figures donkey deep in this, and I wonder further if he is protecting his ‘source’
    We can remember when the National hacked a labour party website ( which had weak protection), Im curious if this is a repeat venture of hacking ?

    Reply
    • Read his statement. He states “The information that I received was not password protected by the Government. It was not stored on a secure system where authorised people needed to log on.”

      Don’t make assertions/accusations with zero evidence.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  7th July 2020

        The Government is lucky that it was revealed by someone who never intended to make it public. If anyone could see this without a password, that doesn’t inspire confidence in their online security.

        I can’t see that simply saying which countries these people are from is racist; he’s not saying anything derogatory about them or even that they are Indian or whatever. They may well be Kiwis of any racial origin. Yes PDTs, people whose ancestors came here generations ago from anywhere can be called Kiwis.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  7th July 2020

          “Former National Party president Michelle Boag said in a statement on Tuesday that she had passed the information to Walker, which she had received in her role as the acting chief executive of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust.

          “I very much regret my actions and did not anticipate that Hamish would choose to send it on to some media outlets but I am grateful that the media involved have chosen not to publish the 18 names that were contained within it,” Boag said in a statement.

          She has resigned as acting chief executive of the trust as a result.

          Boag would not comment on why she sent the information to Walker when asked by Stuff.

          “It would be inappropriate for me to do that because I would be disclosing more details,” Boag said.”
          https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300051710/national-mp-hamish-walker-admits-passing-on-leaked-covid19-patient-info-from-former-party-president-michelle-boag

          Idiots. And as dirty politics as you can get.

          Reply
      • duperez

         /  7th July 2020

        The expectation of Boag would have been that it was confidential. Absolute. Is it possible to interpret her motivation in passing it on as anything but malevolent? Who else did she send it to? Why pick Walker?

        A normal expectation of Walker would have been that he had half a brain and a smidgen of the mantra about the sanctity of private information would have residing in him.

        Boag, like a witch stirred the cauldron, and the boy was gone in the heady aroma.

        Reply
      • Duker

         /  7th July 2020

        “The information that I received was not password protected by the Government. It was not stored on a secure system where authorised people needed to log on.”

        No evidence of any of this as he wasnt the original leaker, but got it second hand from Boag, who seems to have got it from someone else.
        Yep nothing to see here because some Nats say they did it

        Reply
  3. David

     /  7th July 2020

    What a bloody idiot, both of them. Utter foolishness.

    Reply
  4. Corky

     /  7th July 2020

    Kiss the election goodbye, Todd. This is unforgivable. Michelle Boag can expect the phone to go quiet for the rest of her life. In fact, for me, the bigger culprit was Boag. Looks like ACT is in for a bonanza.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  7th July 2020

      If I put my conspiracy hat on, I would say it’s a hit job on Muller.

      I mean, can these two be that dumb?

      Reply
      • I thought that Boag supported Muller. Maybe trying to much to help him by damaging Labour, but it has backfired badly.

        Boag shouldn’t be involved in running any organisation like the Trust again. And while Walker has been stupid at best, she may have helped destroy what could have been a long political career.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  7th July 2020

          Long political career?
          He’s a racist and shouldn’t be in parliament, as his last stuff up showed. He’s got the brain and judgement of a 17yr old

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  7th July 2020

            Yes there’s evidence of his racist comments, even Muller had to pull him up over it .

            Reply
          • Corky

             /  7th July 2020

            What evidence do you have that Walker is racist?

            Reply
        • Corky

           /  7th July 2020

          I didn’t know Boag supports Muller. In that case you are probably right. But, having listened to Boag on many occasions, she never seemed a fool to me. What with all the historical cases of hacking personal information for political gain, you would have thought an old campaigner like Boag would stay well clear of such machinations even though hacking wasn’t involved.

          And..there is still the question of morality. Lefty trolls will feast on this for weeks. They already are. Who can blame them?

          Reply
  5. Reply
    • duperez

       /  7th July 2020

      Who cares why Boag was in the loop? Who cares about a little thing like trust?

      Maybe no information should be sent to anyone in case they can’t be trusted. Maybe parties in government should vet all groups and committees who are to receive information from ministries and ensure it doesn’t go to people who are in other parties. Just in case.

      Reply
      • Walker and Boag are the big news right now, but how the details even got to the Rescue Helicopter Trust or to Boag are a big deal that needs to be investigated as well. Especially unprotected information.

        Reply
    • Duker

       /  7th July 2020

      ARHT is a medical rescue service, so I can see their clinical staff ‘might’ need to know who has had Covid disease. Boag isn’t part of the clinical staff.

      Reply
  6. Even David Farrar at Kiwiblog is piling in: Staggeringly bad judgment

    I’m astonished by the staggeringly bad judgment shown by both Michelle and Hamish.

    Under no circumstances should Michelle have sent that spreadsheet to Hamish, and under no circumstances should he have sent it to the media. It has private health information in it, being the names of people with Covid-19.

    https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2020/07/staggeringly_bad_judgment.html

    Reply
    • Tony Stuart:

      I’m absolutely furious that Michelle Boag has effectively thrown Hamish Walker under the bus. Sure, Walker could have told her to eff off (and doubtless now regrets not doing so). But her excuse that she didn’t expect him to act on the document is absolute bollocks. Why send it to him, if she didn’t expect him to act on it. Boag should be suspended from the party forthwith.

      I’m sure there are quite a few in the National Party who are furious about this. Boag has done a lot of damage and should be chucked from the party. Walker is likely to have to go too, very poor judgement from him.

      And National’s election chances have plummeted from unlikely to almost impossible, unless it is revealed that Ardern leaked the information to Boag (the chances of that are similar to the chances of Muller becoming Prime Minister now).

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  7th July 2020

        Boag says she ‘never expected Walker would send it along to media’
        So why is it now her fault it was revealed in this way. I imagine she thought he would pass it onto Woodhouse for a beat up job without making names visible.

        Gee Boag isn’t liked much by Stuart, aka Keeping Stock one of the Dirty Politics coterie of bloggers spoon fed by Keys PMO.
        Boag will survive as she can call a huge number of favours of support with her charity work. Walker seems to be an Aaron Gilmore clone with foot in mouth constantly

        Reply
    • duperez

       /  7th July 2020

      Kiwiblog had a spot yesterday: The Covid-19 health breach.

      Interesting to read the stuff people said yesterday in light of what we know now.

      Reply
  7. FarmerPete

     /  7th July 2020

    There are a lot of toxic people in politics. It seems Michelle Boag is one of them. She has been around PR and media for a very long time. The ‘never expected Walker would send it to the media’ line just does not wash. If Walker had any portfolios then this would have seen them lose them. Now is the time for Muller to front up and show leadership. He needs to publicly bollock both of them.

    Reply
  8. lurcher1948

     /  7th July 2020

    Ladies and Gentlemen after National shot themselves in the foot with dirty tricks,I present the winner of the 2020 election,Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

    Reply
  9. David

     /  7th July 2020

    I think saying this will throw the election is ridiculous, its a serious stuff up but this will no more lose it for Muller than Clark could have lost it for Ardern.
    I think they need a new southland candidate though.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  7th July 2020

      My first Party candidate flyers for Labour & National have arrived in the last few days. Wonder if Walker’s have already gone out too. What a mess he’s made. That’s all you need at the start of your election campaign whete your pitch is that you have the best team. To have to get rid of one of the team.

      Muller’s removed his spokesperson responsibilities after Walker confessed. How is he going to avoid looking like a ditherer if he now later says,” look I realise I should’ve sacked him as a candidate, so now I have.?

      Reply
      • It’s not up to Muller to sack him as a candidate. I think with National that has to be done by the local electorate.

        Walker has to see he’s a dead weight on a hopeless horse to minimise (or less maximise) the damage.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  7th July 2020

          Oh. Ok. Yes I should’vr realised that.

          Reply
        • Gezza

           /  7th July 2020

          That gives Muller an out if someone from Party GHQ gets on the blower to the electorate committee & says he has to go get your committee together asap & they do decide to de-select him. But would they? How long will it be before Walker decides to resign for the sake of the team?

          Reply
  10. duperez

     /  7th July 2020

    Voxy.co.nz Saturday, 4 July, 2020 – 14:00

    “Yet another mistake just goes to prove that this Government is not fit to manage the Covid-19 recovery, National’s Health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.

    “Reports coming in this morning of personal details being leaked which reveals the identity of New Zealand’s current active cases, is yet another serious failing from this incompetent Government.

    “This is unconscionable and unacceptable that those suffering from the incredibly dangerous virus now have to suffer further with their private details being leaked.

    “The Government needs to get to the bottom of this, and quickly. The Ministry of Health have been assuring people since the beginning of the epidemic in New Zealand that personal details would remain private, it’s unfathomable that they couldn’t handle a simple task like this.

    “Something as simple as keeping confidential information confidential should not be a difficult task, but if there is anything we have learnt from this shambolic Government it is that they cannot be trust(sic) with anything.”

    Reply
  11. Alan Wilkinson

     /  8th July 2020

    Brain dead effort from those two. Yes, that personal info should have been better protected but between the two of them they totally cocked up the way to handle it and now they are toast. Bye bye.

    Reply

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