Evolving Boag story on Covid privacy leak

Michele Boag now says that she was sent daily emails by the Ministry of Health to her private email, and this is how she got the personal details of Covid cases.

After Hamish Walker admitted sending personal health details to media on Tuesday, Boag followed up with a statement claiming:

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 take full responsibility for my actions and have resigned as Acting CEO of ARHT…

At midday yesterday Walker announced that he wouldn’t stand for re-election in Clutha-Southland (now Southland).

Meanwhile Boag didn’t respond to media requests for further information, but it was announced by National deputy leader Nikki Kaye that Boag was stepping down from Party roles. RNZ: Michelle Boag stands down from roles with National deputy leader Nikki Kaye

High-profile former National Party president Michelle Boag has resigned from her campaign and electorate roles for Auckland Central MP and National deputy leader Nikki Kaye.

Kaye said Walker had “displayed a number of very significant errors of judgement and I think his position is pretty difficult in the future.”

Kaye has known Boag for many years and said she was ” absolutely gutted” and “hugely disappointed” that she was behind the leak to the MP.

Then last night Covid-19 privacy breach info came from Health Ministry, Michelle Boag says

Former National Party president Michelle Boag says the Ministry of Health sent her the private details of people infected with Covid-19.

Boag told RNZ the Ministry of Health had sent daily emails to her private email, which included the sensitive details of the country’s Covid-19 cases.

Boag couldn’t explain why it was sent to her private email, but suspected it was because she was only temporarily in the role of chief executive.

The government has already confirmed emergency services were regularly sent the details of the country’s active cases, so they could take the proper precautions if responding to a call-out where someone with Covid-19 was present.

The Ministry of Health and the Health Minister both declined to comment when contacted by RNZ this evening.

This morning Ministry of Health silent on Michelle Boag’s Covid-19 patient detail source claims

The Ministry of Health is refusing to confirm if it supplied the former National Party President Michelle Boag with a daily list of people infected with Covid-19 and their private information.

“I was sent it [the private patient information] legitimately by the Ministry of Health,” Boag said.

She received a daily list of Covid-19 patients, and their personal details, as the acting chief executive of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust (ARHT), Boag said, but added it was sent to her personal email.

Boag said she would then forward the list to “people in the organisation who needed that to do their work”.

Boag couldn’t explain why it was sent to her personal email, but suspected it was because she was only temporarily in the role of chief executive.

Despite receiving sensitive emails daily, Boag said she only ever shared one with Mr Walker.

Boag refused to explain why she did when asked by RNZ.

“Well I’m not going to go into that, but that is the subject obviously of the investigation,” she said.

The Ministry of Health and government ministers declined to comment when contacted by RNZ last night.

But the minister in charge of managed isolation Megan Woods has already confirmed emergency services have been supplied the names of people infected with Covid-19 since the start of the government’s response.

“That is an operational procedure that is standard and that’s because if emergency services need to come into contact with someone who has tested Covid positive for whatever reason, be that an airlift or whatever, that they have that information and make sure their staff is protected,” Woods said.

The Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust made a statement yesterday:

In the wake of Michelle Boag’s revelation concerning the leak of Covid-19 patient information, Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust Chair Simon Tompkins says Ms Boag’s resignation as Acting CEO and Trustee has been accepted.

“The breach which has been admitted by Ms Boag was of an email that was sent to her personal account. As an administrative resource, Ms Boag has never had access to any clinical or patient data held by ARHT.

“ARHT is an integral part of the health system and we are entrusted with information about our patients which is properly protected by protocols which only enable access to those who need this data to care for the patient. We have reviewed these protocols and are confident that none of this patient information has been subject to any privacy breach.

“Nevertheless we take our responsibility for patient confidentiality very seriously and continuously seek to improve our protocols and procedures,” Tompkins says.

“We want to reassure the New Zealand public and, most importantly, our patients and their families that patient care remains our top priority. Any information we hold on patients is private with access on a restricted basis and has not been breached.”

This seems to conflict with what Boag has claimed.

Unless Boag or ARHT  or the Ministry of Health give furhter details we may have to wait until the outcome of the Mike Herron investigation to learn what actually happened.

RNZ: Inquiry still going ahead

The minister for state services, Chris Hipkins, said the ongoing state services inquiry would look at how many people received the sensitive information from the Ministry of Health and whether or not it was appropriate they did.

“We do want to get to the bottom of exactly what happened here and I don’t think the government should rely on what comments people make to the media to draw a line under it, we actually want a proper thorough investigation so that all of the facts can be put on the table so that everyone can be clear what happened,” Hipkins said.

Before Boag and Walker publicly confessed, the inquiry led by Mike Heron QC was expected report back with answers by the end of July.

But the past 48 hours is likely to have make his job a lot easier – and faster.

It is still likely to take a week or two.

Boag says she only passed one email on to Walker – but that doesn’t minimise her actions, that email happened to contain all the details of current Covid cases including personal details.

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  1. John J Harrison

     /  9th July 2020

    It’s obviously very clear that we have not been told ALL the facts.
    Clearly, the MoH were dispensing confidential information like confetti at a wedding to all and sundry.
    It will be amusing to watch Woods try and cover this untimely mess up.

    • lurcher1948

       /  9th July 2020

      I hope the privacy commissioner,rips Boag a new one for using her position to get data to use for political point scoring.I think a term of jail is called for,which will affect her ability to travel and I feel no more cushy jobs as she brings companies into disrepute

    • Gezza

       /  9th July 2020

      “Boag couldn’t explain why it was sent to her private email, but suspected it was because she was only temporarily in the role of chief executive.”

      Going to be interesting to find out where they got that email address from.

      • Patzcuaro

         /  9th July 2020

        Other questions include:

        Was it appropriate for Boag in her roll at the ARHT to be getting the information?

        How long had Boag been getting the information?

        Due to the sensitivity of the information should Boag have queried her receipt of the information?

    • Blazer

       /  9th July 2020

      Yes John ,its quite clear Woods is the culprit.
      Boag and Walker are just minor diversions…..hilarious.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  9th July 2020

    The end of a beautiful friendship between Boag and Walker?

    • Gezza

       /  9th July 2020

      Given that they’ve both ended up making national pariahs of each other, I would assume so.

    • duperez

       /  9th July 2020

      Funny now to watch his reference to her in his maiden speech.

  3. artcroft

     /  9th July 2020

    Boag’s mum may still keep her on as deputy dog walker for when mum is not uo to walking Fido, but in every other role, she is history. Career over.

    • Duker

       /  9th July 2020

      hardly, she took the fall for some actions during the Winebox enquiry, resigned from all sorts of things…after a few years ran for and was elected President of National Party …. they hated her even more after English lost the 2002 election, she stood down…blah blah
      And yet shes still around.
      Didnt she resign from the helicopter rescue trust years ago about some thing and lo.. she was acting CEO up til last week and still on the trust

      Shes not my sort of politics but shes a doer and has energy and ability so gets some credit, and I dont she she cares what you or I think .
      politics needs more people like her rather than the faceless men and women who predominate.

      • Blazer

         /  9th July 2020

        I venture Boag the ex Glen Eden, housewife ,realised early on that the adage ‘its not what you know,but who you know’ would serve her…well.

        As the ex squeeze of longtime ,influential , National senior Murray McCully ,appointments seemed to come …easily to her.

  4. duperez

     /  9th July 2020

    Like saying the MOH was dispensing confidential information like confetti at a wedding to all and sundry clearly is dispensing politically motivated nonsense?

    • John J Harrison

       /  9th July 2020

      [Deleted – please no accusing of associations. PG]

    • Gezza

       /  9th July 2020

      Yeah, of course it is. But it probably is going to be causing an internal review of exactly WHO is getting this information & in what capacity. Who would have thought it might be going to someone’s private email address & that they might send it on to someone who shouldn’t have it. Michelle Boag in hindsight should’ve been a red flag. It’s going to be intriguing to find out how they got that email address.

  5. lurcher1948

     /  9th July 2020

    Mr Slater doesn’t have a very high opinion of Michelle Boag.

    • It should be noted that Slater has displayed holding a very large grudge about Boag for years – of all the political grudges he keeps displaying Boag is probably at the top of his list.

      And while Boag deserves quite a bit of criticism, it’s fairly hypocritical of Slater to accuse someone else of having a “Sordid and Unedifying Past”. One of the reasons he despises her seems to me to be that she has had more political influence and ability to practice dirty politics than than him.

      Boag joins Slater as probably the two most toxic and self damaging ex-National Party operators.

    • Wise one

       /  9th July 2020

      Well worth a read. National Party = Dirty politics

  6. NOEL

     /  9th July 2020

    Last time there was an unverified medical source of was an individual homeless man
    This time something tangible to investigate.

  7. Duker

     /  9th July 2020

    This was 2 years ago and had another big name step in as acting CEO

    and then that persons permanent replacement gone 9 months later when Boag became ‘acting’ for another 9 months and now shes gone…


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