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Written By: - Date published: 6:31 pm, July 7th, 2020 - 210 comments
Categories: national, same old national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: ,

The golden rule is never call an inquiry if you don’t know what the result will be.  Which suggests that Chris Hipkins may have had more than an inkling that National was involved in the leaking of sensitive material to the media concerning returning kiwis who had been diagnosed with Covid.

Late this afternoon it has exploded in spectacular fashion.  Hamish Walker, he of the Indian, Pakistani and Korean slur has fessed up and said he had provided the information to the media.

Then Michelle Boag,  she of 18 previous Covid viruses fame, admitted that she was the one who had acquired the information and had fed it to Walker.

From Derek Cheng at the Herald:

National MP Hamish Walker has been stripped of his Opposition portfolios after admitting he passed confidential private details of Covid-19 patients to the media.

He has apologised in a statement today, and didn’t make a reference about whether he intended to remain as the Clutha-Southland candidate in September.

A privacy breach of 18 active Covid cases was revealed by the Weekend Herald, which the Government called serious and possibly criminal.

National leader Todd Muller said tonight that Walker had made an “error of judgment”.

He has stripped Walker of his shadow portfolios pending the outcome of an inquiry for the Government headed by Michael Heron QC, which was launched yesterday.

Boag has also done a mea culpa.

Boag said it was a “massive error of judgment on my part” and apologised.

“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 judgment 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.”

Boag said she has resigned her position as acting chief executive of ARHT because of her actions.

This will go down like a cup of cold sick with the electorate.  The contrast between Jacinda’s principled way of doing politics and National’s tawdry use of private information for political gain is jarring.  And a vote changer.

Congratulations to the media for not releasing the information.  Shame on National.

210 comments on “Clusterfuck ”

  1. observer 1

    "Congratulations to the media for not releasing the information"

    A point that has been largely overlooked. In tabloid UK or USA, they would be knocking on the patient's door and getting footage of tears.

    Love how Boag dumps on Walker there: "I did not anticipate that Hamish would choose to send it on to some media outlets". (= I regret handing the murderer my gun, I never thought he would use it).

    • Incognito 1.1

      Plausible deniability.

    • dv 1.2

      Didn't expect him to use it, SO WHY did she send it to Marshall.


    • froggleblocks 1.3

      Well Hamish has to be quite a few sandwiches short of a picnic to think this was a good thing to do after he already got told off by Muller.

      He should have taken Boag's information and gone to Muller with it so they could determine how best to use it – Muller just putting out a press release saying he has it but wouldn't release it could have looked bad for the government, for example.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.3.1

        He should have taken Boag's information and gone to Muller with it so they could determine how best to use it

        No. He should have gone straight to the police. Boag handing it over to him was a crime. Considering that it turned up in her personal email account I suspect that her getting it was also a crime.

        Muller just putting out a press release saying he has it but wouldn't release it could have looked bad for the government, for example.

        Wouldn't have looked bad for the government at all. Muller having it and not going to the police with such a blatant crime makes National look bad for their abuse of power.

    • Matthew Whitehead 1.4

      Yep. Genuine gold star for all media personnel who had access and did the right thing. They are the real MVPs of this story, although Chris Hipkins has also definitely shown why he's warming that ministerial seat right now.

  2. UncookedSelachimorpha 2

    But it's their moral duty to win the election! Go Morality!!

    Seriously – thank god this lot aren’t in charge of the country. Gummint in waiting – well, keep waiting a lot longer I hope.

  3. riffer 3

    I should be staggered at this.

    I'm not. I guess Mr Muller ain't looking forward to the next poll.

  4. We always knew she was part of the National "Dirty Ops", but this certainly confirms our suspicions. It also confirms they had a plan to make the Government look sloppy.

    The government should track every incident back to its source. This "outing" may be to avoid further scrutiny. I don't trust them.

    The media were better behaved here, by not taking advantage.

    • Just Is 4.1

      Yes Patricia, those two are the sacrificial lambs to try and stop any further harm to the brand and find the rest of the support team members.

      This will now plague their election campaign, right up till polling day I hope.

    • I Feel Love 4.2

      Spot on, Boag quote "I think I've saved the QC a lot of work", Hipkins says the inquiry will continue. Boag, Walker, Hooton & Muller must be shitting themselves.

    • Gabby 4.3

      I know, why did they cave so quickly?

  5. Treetop 5

    What did Boag think she was going to gain by sending names of Covid-19 cases to Walker?

    Boag needs to take FULL responsibility for her meddling.

  6. Just Is 6

    Just one word for it


  7. Chris 7

    Would be the icing on the cake if Hooton were involved. It's right up his alley.

  8. observer 8

    Muller was happy with Bishop and Woodhouse using leaks (or claims) earlier, so this is really on him. Walker's just taken it a step further, and in effect his defence is that he thought it was what he was being asked to do.

    "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 love how he re-defines "not made public" as "sent to the media who fortunately have higher ethics than me."

  9. MAGA Muller has learnt a lot from his idol

  10. Matiri 10

    Wonder if Michelle Boag has a holiday home in Queenstown?

  11. Ovid 11

    Turns out the real shambles was the National Party all along.

    • georgecom 11.1

      yup. A shabby little MP for Southland (as well as a shabby little ex president) and a shambles of a caucus. Muller was pontificating how his party would be more competent than Labour running the post Covid situation. Lol. Really Todd? Your shabby shambles running the country

  12. In Vino 12

    I always had this nasty feeling that Muller would be manoeuvred out, and it would be Nikki Kaye as leader in a head-on with Jacinda… aping Labour's manoeuvre last election.

    A conspiracy theory, I know, and, of course, I may be wrong…

    But I foresee the possible casting off or resignation of Muller, and the emergence of a shining, new Nikki Kaye, whose dazzling, newfound oratory and leadership will be mightily magnified by the compliant media.

    (I just wanted to be first to suggest it in case it actually happens.)

    • Anne 12.1

      Yeah… its a better conspiracy theory than mine on the DR post which was:

      It was going to left lying around at a – coincidentally – strategic place.

    • Muttonbird 12.2

      Ardern would destroy Kaye head-to-head.

      • Incognito 12.2.1

        With kindness?

        • In Vino

          Nats remember Kaye beating Ardern in a certain electorate, and someone silencing her with, "Zip it, Sweetie."

          I think Jacinda was keeping her powder dry at the time, and I agree that she would now win.

          But don't expect a fair contest.

          • newsense

            When the speaker is protecting you whatever 'we don't have a measure for child poverty *hysterical laughter*' flippantness wins the debate.

            Do you think it was really this Hamish? Seems like a quick scapegoat for those higher up.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 12.2.2

        Kaye would probably have a better chance than Muller, though.

    • Leighton 12.3

      Not saying you're right, but the sabotage theory would at least explain why Kaye has uncharacteristically been behaving like a lobotomised chimp since becoming deputy leader. In the past I have regarded her reasonably highly amongst the National caucus but have asked "What's Wrong With Her?" more than once over the last six weeks.

  13. mickysavage 13

    Now Heron QC can summons Boag and Walker to give evidence and tell them to bring their laptops. This is a potential can of worms for National.

    • weka 13.1

      do you know where the information came from originally? I'm trying to make sense of Walker's statement that he didn't break the law. How is this not a straight out breach of the Privacy Act?

      • SPC 13.1.1

        Walker is claiming its pretty legal because it was not a password protected spreadsheet – given how he got it how would he know – who told him, those who gave the info to Boag …

        Boag is claiming she had work right to the info, yet it came to her via a private email.

        • weka

          from memory, you can't release private information if it can be reasonably expected that the person who the information is about wouldn't want it released. It's possible that Walker will argue he didn't believe the info he had was covered by the Act eg because he's not a govt official?, but the password stuff is a nonsense

          • maggieinnz

            Agreed Weka. Even if Boag had a work-based right to the info she still would have been bound by confidentiality in her contract.

            • McFlock

              I was wondering why she talked about private email, but it might make it more difficult to charge in a criminal sense. The Queenstown bouncer who leaked security footage of the England cricketer was done for "dishonestly obtaining property by accessing a computer system".

              If it just turned up in her own email account, she wasn't [ahem] being dishonest in how she got it.

              • maggieinnz

                It will be interesting to see how that unfolds. Yes, the private email thing is odd and I'm wondering if by having the info sent to her private email instead of work email then it would be a different legal process to get evidence of wrong-doing (as in, her private email can only be investigated once criminal proceedings are underway and only after a search warrant is issued – maybe).

                I don't think she has any grounds to claim she wasn't being dodgy AF considering she already had legitimate rights of access via her role. It was passing it on that gets her in trouble. I'm wondering what else she's hiding…

                • McFlock

                  I don't think she cares about dodgy AF, just being better at sailing close to the "pretty legal" line than Joyce was.

                  • maggieinnz

                    Yep. The legality thing is tricky in this situation given the protections politicians seem to have. Ethically the situation is black and white.

                    I was thinking about it last night/this morning and agree that her main concern would be to avoid charges which would screw up her post-politics career choices.

                • Kiwijoker

                  This thing has a long,long tail. Of all the natzi mps why did the toad send the information to a junior back bencher.? Why not send it to the louse? Who sent it to the Toad?

                  the natzi apparatus in Clutha needs to be investigated and subjected to rigorous IQ testing to explain why they have inflicted a series of amoral clods on the country.

                  Deep State, 5G anyone?

            • Frida

              I don't buy that there was a work-related reason for her to receive the info. I don't see why the CEO of a Helicopter Trust needs access to a list of Covid patients. There's no discernible reason for that so either further digging needs to be done to ascertain who gave MB the information and why and if it is legitimate, questions need to be asked by the Privacy Commissioner as to how secure NZers health information really is.

              • maggieinnz

                Yeah, you could be right, Frida. I simply meant that as CEO she probably didn't have to hack the system (or get anyone else to) in order to get at the info. In this way, it offers her plausible deniability but I agree that it probably wasn't info she would normally require to do her job.

      • Matthew Whitehead 13.1.2

        Boag is certainly the proximate source if not the original source, and claims to have had access to it in her role as CEO of the rescue helicopter trust.

        This is slightly dubious: while she may be an authorized recipient, she was probably not a rightfully authorized recipient and should never have leaked it further: it's hard to see why she would need personal information in that capacity, and her disclosure was certainly not related to her job and has in fact proven she is unfit for positions of public trust, like running a charity.

        All she needed to do was tell Walker it was accessible and to report it to the authorities. Would have made himself look much more effective and perhaps even justify that he was "treating the issue seriously" with more credulous commentators, but clearly National is in such disarray not only can the backbench not perform basic hits, they're not smart enough to have someone the trust to instruct them properly on what to do.

        Walker could try to claim his leak was a statement in his capacity as an MP to the media and thus covered by Parliamentary Privilege, but intuitively (ie. IANAL!) that seems like a big stretch. Looking forward to hearing from actual lawyers on this once enough info is clear for them to weigh in.

        • weka

          I was meaning original as in it came from the MoH, rather than say a hotel? (I didn't follow the story the other day).

          I really hope they go after both of them. Whatever 'error of judgement' they've got going on in their heads, this shit needs to be dealt with really publicly so that everyone knows where the boundaries are again.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            There's massive calls from even centrists wanting Walker's and Boag's heads. I'm not sure this is survivable for them in their current roles, although there's the possibility that Muller's position is so weak he can't force Walker to resign, which is really not a good thing for either of them, to be quite honest: Walker is then left dead walking, rather than moved on to a cushy aligned private sector position for "doing the right thing by his party." I'd be shocked if Boag's board aren't calling an emergency meeting about how to censure her.

            And yeah, the primary source of the info isn't very clear yet, but knowing that Boag is the one who accessed it and through which org should make tracing it a lot easier, so we will probably know tomorrow, or at least Soon™.

        • mickysavage

          Her wording is interesting. She says:

          “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.”

          So the next question is who sent it to her? Was it someone from within the organisation, presumably? And why to her private email address?

          • Matthew Whitehead

            Yep. Implies it's a case of: "oh, it will be easier to deal with what Boag needs by just giving her inappropriate access to too much data, but we can't do that officially, so we'll use our private addresses to provide her access to an unsecured data dump."

            That would be enough of a story that they could have run with that, but Walker got racist, and then got defensive about being racist, and flubbed it majorly.

            • Muttonbird

              Also, the statement from Walker made certain his sending of this information to the media was to back up his story that foreigners were going to invade Queenstown.

              In all respects it seems like information to order. The Nats needed it and Boag provided through her RW contacts in the MoH.

              • Matthew Whitehead

                They don't even need to be right-wing contacts. They can just be credulous public servants, or she could have a manager who's a personal friend that isn't even political. If you have a semi-credible need for information that isn't going to end up in media hands, the public sector tends to trip over itself to give it to you.

                • Muttonbird

                  Indeed. The Nats know this and they've been trying to use it for 12 years now.

                  The finer points are crucial here. IS there a massive problem with the RW politicisation in the public service, or do has been old Nat dinosaurs still have unwarranted access to government info whenever they feel like it?

                  • Matthew Whitehead

                    I doubt it's politicization, to be honest. It's more likely an issue of us not making official information accessible to the public, and making personal information WAY TOO accessible for people who don't need it without reasonable audit practices. The assumption for each of those needs to be reversed- even allied NGOs need to show good reason they need access to data before they get it. It's a wider culture issue that is worsened by Labour's institutional distrust of open information.

                    If all public servants regularly have to think about what sort of information is and should be accessible, they won't be routinely handing it out to dinosaurs like Boag when it contains unnecessary personal details, even if they are running an allied NGO.

          • gsays

            Boag's wording has a weaselness to it, in that she seems to be using the chopper trust as a shield or distraction.

            Nothing concrete, but these political operators use words and langauge very shrewdly.

            Heh, look at me, telling that to a lawyer.

            Even Mullers utterances on this, so far, don't put him in the clear. Despite what Wayne reckons down thread.

          • maggieinnz

            "And why to her private email address?"

            What if she sent it to herself?

            She could claim she was doing some legitimate work from home so sent the docs to her private email thus being able to claim an 'oops' moment rather than intentionally stealing data. (actually, this is what McFlock suggested here)

          • Kiwijoker

            I maybe off base but if someone knicks my tv, gives it to someone else who then uses it, is the receiver not guilty of a crime?

          • RJL

            Reasonable chance that she sent it to herself.

            Seems very likely that ARHT has access to this sort of information as a provider of ambulance-like services. So that pilots know where to go.

            It's also unsurprising that Boag, as acting CEO has sufficient internal IT privileges with ARHT to access that information, even though she wouldn't normally need it on a day to day basis. It also wouldn't be especially surprising for someone else in the company to email that info to her, if she asked. Needing data on "places we could need to fly to" sounds pretty legit. for the CEO.

            After all, if you can't trust the CEO with company confidential info. who can you trust?

  14. woodart 14

    this should be the end of boag being reactivated as tv mouthpiece on political programmes.

    • Marcus Morris 14.1

      Certainly hope so. She has got away with spouting her bias for years on "The Panel". In recent times I have tuned in to the Concert programme while she at the microphone.

  15. bwaghorn 15

    Calling christ t come in christ t

    What's your take????🤣🤣🤣😁

  16. observer 16

    Tomorrow morning Muller has his weekly media rounds, all the usual radio & TV. He might want to have a sudden laryngitis, overnight. "Nikki, you're up …".

  17. UncookedSelachimorpha 17

    And Muller had the gall to use the leak to criticise the government – while it was his own band of muppets doing the despicable and utterly immoral deeds!

    Todd Muller said the breach was "quite staggering, it talks to a government that's slipping off the side of a cliff, in terms of managing this issue, the border, the informaton pertaining to it".

    "If they can't manage personal information, bluntly, they can't manage the border and they can't manage the country."

    From the National Party's perspective, Muller said it was "unacceptable" and they would see where it ended up.

    "Is it a deliberate leak or is it accidental? It doesn't really matter at a level … it's loose, it's shabby and it's a reminder these guys can't manage important things well," he said.

    "These guys need to step aside and let a competent government take over."

    • McFlock 17.1

      Things that didn't age well #57 🙂

    • observer 17.2

      I had forgotten that (things move fast!).

      It's an extraordinary statement. He's not smart enough for some devious Game of Thrones chess move, so I'm sure he didn't know about Walker when he said that.

      It's almost embarrassing how lonely he is in that caucus. His MPs don't respect or fear a caretaker, why would they?

      • weka 17.2.1

        would have thought not getting such a thrashing at the election might have been a motivation to at least pretend.

        • Draco T Bastard

          I doubt he's got the capability to pretend that well.

        • observer

          That should be the case, but as we saw (to some extent) with Labour in opposition, when things are going badly then individual MPs will look after themselves.

          It's noticeable how many of the problems are coming from MPs with safe seats (Penk, Walker, even Bridges, more subtly) or high list placings. So Hamish loses his Indian/Korean colleagues, down the list? Won't worry him much.

    • Wayne 17.3


      All of that clearly indicates Todd Muller was completely unaware of how the information was leaked. He was obviously unaware of the involvement of either Walker or Boag.

      • observer 17.3.1

        I agree with you, Wayne.

        That an MP would act without talking to the leader's office is surprising. That he would do it after already being publicly reprimanded for his earlier press statement is simply incredible.

      • Matthew Whitehead 17.3.2

        Which isn't really particularly good. Combine that with the fact that Walker has not yet resigned and it gives the impression that he has no control over his caucus. If he can't require a resignation for this, what use is he, even as a patsy leader?

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 17.3.3

        True, he was having a shot without knowing his facts.

      • McFlock 17.3.4

        oh, true.

        God, there are so many levels of fucktitude in this. And there's still the question of whether someone followed protocols when generating and distributing the document to authorised people, and at what stage(s) that all went awry.

  18. McFlock 18

    Any organisation that employs Boag in the future will do so in the full knowledge that it be sacrificed by her for a cheap headline for the nats.

    Seriously, a wilful breach like this could cancel contracts and decline data requests, even destroy an organisation. I cannot overstate how much of a… transgression this is in the culture of the health sector. It's like walking into a Greenpeace meeting eating a whalemeat sandwich.

    • I Feel Love 18.1

      Yep McFlock, Westpac Rescue will be livid and may have something to say about this. Boag could still be lying as it went to her private email…

      • McFlock 18.1.1

        Nah, I suspect the doc was generated by the ministry and they knew exactly the small group that was in the recipient list. Hell, it might only have been sent to ARHT (they might run a westpac-branded chopper, but she was in the auckland trust) for their specific needs.

        Possibly the easiest leak inquiry ever.

  19. Brian Tregaskin 19

    This is the precise point in time that National has lost any chance of wining the Election

    • Incognito 19.1

      As long as they take out the Epsom Anomaly.

      • Just Is 19.1.1

        There is a potential Northland seat Anomaly that could quite easily occur to offset Epsom.

        It's happened before, it could, if need be, happen again

        [Fixed your user name]

      • georgecom 19.1.2

        yup, a few % points down and as things, I believe, currently stand Paora Goldsmith will have to win his seat to get back, and then watch him try to rip Seymour to shreds. I must remember to buy some pop corn for that. Seymour would be crapping himself, actually having to campaign for a seat rather than be gifted one.

    • Just Is 19.2

      I'm inclined to agree with you.

      In they're endeavor to defame the Govt they've just squandered what little was left of their credibility.

      A complete contrast in behavior to the Labour Party

    • Muttonbird 19.3

      No, that was when they made Simon the leader. All downhill from there.

  20. Byd0nz 20

    to Chris T. Human error eh!

    • I Feel Love 20.1

      heh, I agreed with him too, he also used that defence pretty early on, interesting.

    • Chris T 20.2

      I said I couldn't see any politidal gain from it being political, so most likely was human error.

      It obviously wasnt but there seems no political gain.

      But if it gives you the jollies thinking you win something, I was wrong.


      • Muttonbird 20.2.1

        Problem is your whole values system is based on shifting sands and corruption.

  21. Katipo 21

    I wonder if …

    (a) it was obvious from the private email or

    (b) she decided later

    that she was sent the list because of her role as the Acting CEO of Auckland Rescue Trust?

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 21.1

      Given the national interest, I am sure Boag will be forthcoming with full details of the private email. Seeing how she is wanting to put right a wrong and all.

    • Matiri 21.2

      or maybe she had access to the MoH system in her capacity as Acting CEO of Auckland Rescue Trust, did a bit of snooping around and forwarded the list to her private email.

      • Matthew Whitehead 21.2.1

        It could also legitimately be that the info is poorly secured, but if so, that's even less of an excuse for how Walker acted: it's much easier to just score points by embarassing the government by showing you have access to information you shouldn't, and being able to say you reported it as you take it to the media.

    • Draco T Bastard 21.3

      I doubt that she'd be sent it as part of her role as Acting CEO of Auckland Rescue Trust. Its not something that she would need to know in that role.

    • Chris T 21.4

      And I am still wondering if it had simple password only access configuration on the file.

  22. Brian Tregaskin 22

    "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.”

    More to come out of this –someone (possible MOH insider) logged into a system and did an export to csv or excel or even a copy and paste screen scrape. Remember the data has to be stored somewhere and logged into to get it the first place. I don’t think she got the data for the excel sheet herself.

    Even a bank could not stop an employee with a login and authorised access to that system stealing customer account details. The one hack you can not prevent is from your own employees.

    • McFlock 22.1

      A number of good reasons come to mind to have such a list generated. I doubt it was maliciously generated – but that leaves "cockup" or even "not actually a data breach until it turned up in Boag's personal email account".

  23. Treetop 23

    Will Boag show on the Nation or Q & A?

    Not on the panel an interview.

    Total humiliation and she makes a mockery of her past statements of similar incidents concerning others.

    All she can do is apologise, unfortunately her behaviour was off the scale.

  24. logie97 24

    Boag was on the RNZ Panel this afternoon.

    It seemed that some of her comments were unusually muddled. Even before the show in the section "I have been thinking…"

    She started with "I've been thinking about the Pandemic and immediately opined about Global warming. And then she later talked about the Yeti in the Rocky Mountains – Perhaps she was aware of the bomb that was about to explode and expose her – she was actually late arriving for the show – was she trying to get her ducks in a line as she was entering the RNZ studio?

    One hopes that Wallace Chapman will announce why Boag will not be invited onto his show again.

    • Peter 24.1

      I have written to RNZ saying a person with that level of integrity should not be on any of their forums. I encourage everyone to do the same.

    • ScottGN 24.2

      Hopefully this means I’ll never have to listen to the old trout on the radio again.

    • Lenore 24.3

      Wow really? Definitely should be off the panel list and about time, she is such a smug tosser. I hope the true blue Nats won't keep to their trumpian loyalty and really see this for the dirty politics that it is. To use vulnerable people for their own ends. And to think how Mullethead was going on in the weekend about it and probably going to do a major backtrack and still try and find a way to undermine the govt. This was more than a bloody 'error of judgement'. I think Hipkins handled it quite well and makes sense that they had an idea who it could be to launch the investigation and backed the rats into a corner so they had to fess up. How do we stop Boag from getting other high positions? Surely this has legal implications beyond her just being able to resign and get away with it?

    • Ed 24.4

      Ironically, she was talking about adversarial politics on the Panel.

      At around 4.10 p.m.

      Given what happened an hour and a half later, quite interesting to hear her opine on the matter.

      In hopefully her last ever platform on national radio.

  25. infused 25

    Most National voters we're already going to vote ACT. I think this cements that.

    I said a few months ago ACT were going to poll close, if not over 5%

  26. Anne 26

    Sounds like her mind was on other matters. 😉

  27. UncookedSelachimorpha 27

    Just took an indulgent glance at kiwiblog (yuk!yuk!yuk!) – only do at times like this, next time will hopefully be the night National get flogged in the election.

    The angle there is "bad judgement, really bad judgement, bad bad judgement"

    No awareness of the lack of morality or that these dirty tactics are the wrong way to operate.

  28. Ken 28

    Dirty rotten nasty National, laid bare for all to see – and just before an election too.

    Boag and Walker both know that personal medical records are confidential – whether it's written on them or not.

    This kind of dirty politics goes right back to Bennett leaking social welfare info to get at people who criticised her.

    Hopefully, this will wake up a few more people to the fact that national is not fit to be in charge of our personal private information.

    The Nats' desperation has finally got the better of them.

  29. I'd love to see Hipkins put Woodhouse under the blow torch for the fake report of a homeless person getting 2 weeks in isolation for free. That was a made up story and he did it to create noise – pure dirty politics. The fact is a thorough review found no such thing happened and those lying right wingers should be publicly shamed for their lies.

    That would nicely follow this little story.

  30. observer 30

    Now that I've read Muller's full statement, it really looks weak:


    "Error of judgement" is when an MP says something silly like Russell and Coffey did a while back. Whoops, gaffe, sorry.

    This is vastly worse. Muller doesn't want to comment further … that is absurd. He has no choice. If he tries the old "what about … the real issue is" evasion then he's toast.

    His big line on Clark was "I would have sacked him long before". Todd the leader, tough guy, man with standards. Let's see tomorrow.

  31. ScottGN 31

    Muller’s response so far has been utterly inadequate. If he persists with this ‘I’m disappointed but I’ll wait for the results of the official inquiry’ bullshit he’s going to get crucified.

    • Muttonbird 31.1

      Muller just doesn't seem interested in the job at all. Why the fuck did he roll Bridges?

      • ScottGN 31.1.1

        Cos he was conned into thinking he was going to get a coronation by the Nat operatives who just wanted him to staunch the blood loss at the election. And that includes Hooten.

      • Ken 31.1.2

        Because the nats panicked when it looked like eighteen of them were going to drop off the list.

        They should have let Simon carry the can for the election and started afresh after September – now they've trashed Nikki Kaye's career as well.

        • ScottGN

          They’re going to be fortunate if it is only 18 the way things are going. This is some serious overreach.

        • In Vino

          Or may Nikki not now stage a leadership challenge, and arise a late-anointed, new and pure leader (just as Jacinda did), to be Joan of Arc for the National Party (as Jacinda was for Labour) ?

          Yes, I know that Andrew Little resigned for Jacinda to take over, but Muller could easily do the same, the way things are going for him..

    • ianmac 31.2

      Yes Scott because Walker has confessed already. Therefore it is not necessary to wait (until it is all forgotten.) for the Inquiry result. Ha!

  32. ScottGN 32

    Can’t wait til Chippie gets on a roll with this!

    • Muttonbird 32.1

      He's good. Remember day one in parliament this term when Simon and Jami-Lee fucked him over on the numbers in parliament voting for speaker?

      Chippie will have his revenge in spades…

  33. Ed 33

    Words fail me.

    So I’ll leave it to Dr Siouxsie Wiles

    “It’s horrendous that personal patient information was able to be leaked like this. But Michelle Boag’s conduct is utterly despicable. It’s heartbreaking trusted powerful people are working so hard to undermine what New Zealand has achieved. They are putting us in great danger.”

    • ScottGN 33.1

      This should be the banner headline for the nation tomorrow. It won’t be but it really should be.

      • Ed 33.1.1


        These words in particular…….

        “It’s heartbreaking trusted powerful people are working so hard to undermine what New Zealand has achieved. They are putting us in great danger.”

        Team of 4,999,998.

    • mauī 33.2

      Ed, thank you.

  34. Ed 34

    Looks like Nikki Kaye is fronting the breakfast T.V. shows tomorrow.

    6.55 a.m. on TVNZ.

    7.10 a.m. on TV3.

    Wonder why Todd is not fronting?

  35. gsays 35

    This current brouhaha speaks to poor leadership.

    As much Bridges/Bennett as Muller/Kaye.

    Just recently Muller turned Bridges down as Foreign Affairs spokesperson. Bridges responds by lunching with the visiting European Union delegate.

    Bridges gets handed Foreign Affairs.

    Woodhouse creates a story about an interloper slipping into the quarantine.

    Woodhouse sits on a story about possible Covid contact to maximise the politics of it.

    All on Mullers watch.

    I vainly thought the re-emergence of Woodhouse (Outhouse) and his toilet seat antics would prompt some leadership alas, no.


    Contrast all this with the leadership and behaviour from two of the parties on the other side of the house.

  36. Nzsage 36

    Who would have thought you could overdose on schadenfreude and yet here I am.

  37. Ad 37

    Takes 3% off National and gifts it back to Labour. Helps stem the 9% reversal.

    2 months to go, excellent timing.

    I'm sure we could get at least a pre-trial hearing for Boag and Walker in that time.

    Hope they get Judge Morris.

  38. Heather Tanguay 38

    So this is shambolic, Toad Muller. This is a disgusting peice of work, looks like a whole new Dirty Politics book. Chris Hopkins did a good job, he is not going to let this go and neither he should, it is despicable. Toad's response was weak, trying to play it all down. Judith will be more confident than ever.

    • Chris T 38.1

      Is there really a need to call politicians names?

      Unless you are about 12 of course

      • Incognito 38.1.1

        I agree, Chris Hopkins is just lame.

        • greywarshark

          Chris T there is a great need to make up pointed or ironic names about politicians. It is the only brightener in the usually grey task of looking at those running the country supposedly. So, for those staunch types who sometimes get tired, with ennui, a little humour and fun-poking is delivered and deserved by pollies et Al and lightens the load. Which errant pollies should find placed on them, like Sisyphus.

  39. idle dog 39

    Presumably Todt Mullet is being undermined from within. Is Boag a tool for Key and his annointed one?

    Listening to CEO (CEO!) of Small Business Voice on Morning Report yesterday (soft-ball Nat electioneering) I was surprised at the shallowness of thinking and mindless repetition of slogans that passes for neo-liberal thinking these days. They've had it their way for so long they've forgotten how to think! Unfortunately Todt Mullet is the cream on the top of that sour bottle.

    Next-gen Nats (gNats) are going to be purely oligarchical with all the attendant wealth and media assets. The election after this one needs to be fought now I think. What a delicious irony that Labour could campaign on immigration and border control, migrant visas and defending the NZ worker! Small and not so small business will have to think quick…innovation and entrepreneurship anyone? lol

  40. George 40

    Begs a few questions..many in the comments above.

    But…the information these two had and claim they were "sent" which they also claim to know the source of… down to the details of whether there was or was not password protection on that source sounds extremely dodgy to me. To have absolute knowledge of that with enough conviction to feel confident that they could put it into the public arena like this implies they knew it and saw it at the source then simply arranged for it to be sent to Michelle etc. Otherwise it was just heresay. They could potentially have been shown other people's personal health records as well which is really disturbing. The whole story stinks…I used to work in health this has the stench of people covering their butts now they think they could be in trouble with the law and get caught.

  41. greywarshark 41

    Love the pic – it's been around for a while but you'll never get a more attractive pic of her so go on using it till the day she's very old and…purple?

  42. Ben 42

    I believe the reason Boag had the list was for National party assets to contact Covid patients and ask them about failings in their quarantine

  43. Climaction 43

    What absolute pieces of shit.

    • Muttonbird 43.1

      That RW people would say this means the Nats are looking at the worst defeat ever.

      Just take that silly runt, Seymour, with you.

      • George 43.1.1

        Seymour and his new NRA affiliates? I wonder how the libertarian matrons of Remuera are reconciling that?

  44. Treetop 44

    Is there a name on the list which Boag and Walker want to single out?

  45. Brian Tregaskin 45

    What we all suspect -there is a 'tainted' employee in MOH or a MOH Contractor somewhere out there causing all the damage and they need to be found quickly. Bet you NZSIS have probably been called in to assist.

  46. Tiger Mountain 46

    It has been apparent since 2017 that there are National snouts galore in the Public Sector who actively undermine the Govt.

    It is way past time to expose and deal to some of them. National’s dirty tricks squad seems to have just got bigger and more slippery since our glorious ex leader Mr Key scarpered.

    I don’t buy the “honourable media” angle-this toxic stink bomb of a leak was quite likely to have revealed some of their precious sources-the journalists were trying to prevent blow back!

    • I Feel Love 46.1

      Yep, has DP writ all over it, Tova didn't get this scoop! Be very interesting what comes out of the woodwork next few days, media got burnt last time, have they learnt anything? Trusting Boag, ffs!

  47. ianmac 47

    What rotten people are in that lot. Dirty Tricks back in 2012.

    Claire Curran today said,

    The worst of it was in 2012, when she was sent photos from the National Party's Mainland Region conference, one showing fellow Dunedin-based MP, National's Michael Woodhouse, posed with a blue toilet seat with her face emblazoned on it.

    The seat was reportedly used as a trophy for a debating competition."I was so shocked when I saw it. I have never been able to speak of it publicly because I felt embarrassed. I still feel quite traumatised by it," she told The Spinoff.

    "They were literally encouraging people to piss on me."


  48. RedLogix 48

    Gone by tomorrow lunchtime … angry

  49. observer 49

    Prediction (dig it up later and mock!):

    Muller tonight is doing the phones. Judging by RW social media (limited sample) he'll be under pressure to "show leadership". A lot of Nat voters want Walker gone.

    Tomorrow he will disown Walker. Best outcome for Nats is for Walker to announce tomorrow that he's quitting Parliament (pressure behind scenes, we know how it works).

    If Walker refuses to go, then Muller has to get caucus to expel him. ASAP.

    If Walker is still in Nat caucus next week, then Muller's leadership is fatally wounded.

    My guess is Walker will be gone (i.e. not standing for National) by end of week.

    • anker 49.1

      Observer, you are right, but what if Todd can't expel Walker or pressure him to step down cause he was aware of the leak……… If Walker walks he could become another Jami lee tell all. Muller is in a lot of trouble over this. It looked so weak that Walker has lost his shadow port folio of forestry and land info. Yes a really really serious consequence. NOT

      • George 49.1.1

        Walker might walk..but will Boag boogie off? She's been a zealous stalwart of National forever. Since the information "came to/through" her…then she passed it on to him he was technically a messenger. Is Michelle going to resign from national is my question?

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 49.2

      Cauterise the wound will be National's strategy from here.

    • Graeme 49.3

      The electorate executive tried to get rid of him in March, he's got up a few noses just like his predecessor. And just as likely to trip over himself as his predecessor.

      This has been coming for a while.

  50. Ron Wilson 50

    What Boag doesn't say it's whether she had also resigned as a Trustee of the Auckland Helicopter Trust. She was only acting CEO which she had now relinquished but she must also resign as a Trustee

    • George 50.1

      I feel very sorry for the Auckland Helicopter Rescue Trust right now. I bet they have a few regrets.

      • anker 50.1.1

        I feel sorry for the helicopter trust. On the other hand what were they thinking appointing Boag.

        • In Vino

          You mean the Westpac Rescue Helicopter crowd, the marketing division of the profit-gouging Westpac bank??

          Give me a break – masquerading as do-gooders, they con dumb individuals into donating to their Westpac marketing budget!

  51. anker 51

    Observer, you are right, but what if Todd can't expel Walker or pressure him to step down cause he was aware of the leak……… If Walker walks he could become another Jami lee tell all. Muller is in a lot of trouble over this. It looked so weak that Walker has lost his shadow port folio of forestry and land info. Yes a really really serious consequence. NOT

  52. Muttonbird 52

    God I hate Boag.

    • In Vino 52.1

      Why? She has just given the Left a great boost, unless it is all part of a catastrophic plan.

  53. Weasel 53

    This from Pattrick Smellie on Businessdesk:

    Parliamentary records show Boag and Walker have had dealings in the promotion of legislation on behalf of at least one client of Boag's.

    In August last year, NZ First MP Tracey Martin accused Walker in Parliament of sponsoring a private members' bill promoted by Boag to enable foster parents and guardians to enrol children in their care in KiwiSaver schemes – a bill that NZ First supported.

    Boag gained notoriety when she organised the unauthorised videotaping of parts of the 'winebox' inquiry into tax avoidance when working for Fay, Richwhite, the merchant bank at the centre of the inquiry.

    That incident led to questions about her suitability for the presidency of the National Party, which she won in 2001, going on to work with then leader Bill English to what was a historic defeat.

    She was involved also in the so-called Saudi sheep deal, a project that saw a New Zealand-style sheep farm established in the Saudi Arabian desert as part of an effort by then Foreign Minister and long-time Boag confidant Murray McCully to seal a trade deal in the Middle East.

    Boag remains an executive adviser to the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. She told BusinessDesk she wouldn't be resigning any other roles.

    • Lettuce 53.1

      "She (Boag) told BusinessDesk she wouldn't be resigning any other roles."

      That's what Shipley said after she lost the Mainzeal insolvency case. Reality caught up with her very quickly after that as I recall.

    • FAB mouse 53.2

      The links with Murray McCully maybe continuing.

      "The board members are Hone Harawira, Honourable Murray McCully, Maru Nihoniho, Michelle Boag and our Managing Director Jevan Goulter."


      But the website is "… just renovating, and we will be right back soon."


      I'm intregued at the mix on the board.

    • Ad 53.3

      If Boag is charged, there is just a chance that her pastry-encrusted wriggling baked maggot pie of political manipulation would be sliced open steaming and served right back at her, on a plate, in court evidence.

      And that would be a thing to behold.

      • greywarshark 53.3.1

        Such a feast for the eyes Ad that you are offering this morning, hot and strong.

    • greywarshark 53.4

      Weasel you are better than Felicity Ferret of historic note. That is so interesting. A well-tossed salad with piquant dressing. An interesting dish.

  54. RedBaronCV 54

    In the past I have done a post on the Helicopter Rescue Trust covering governance etc (they were wanting money from the Auckland City council. ) and I don't think we need to feel sorry for them. I'd link it but my search function doesn't work for this site

    I'm actually shocked that they are on the list for so much health data. They would need it for those they transport but I don't see any reason why they need or should have access to the wider health system.

    And why did anyone in that chain think it was okay to view and distribute private health data.

  55. RRM 55

    Hamish Walker leaks a govt document to the media –

    GONE by lunchtime.


    Meka Whaitiri assaults her staff –

    Jacinda mumbles something about absolutely not her expectations.

    This is a prime opportunity for Muller to show the country, that electing a leader with balls is an option in September.

    • Ad 55.1

      Best of luck with that.

    • observer 55.2

      "I am proud to lead a fantastic team. And they are shits, so I show leadership by getting rid of them."

      You might want to consider the slight flaw in your logic, RRM.

  56. Kiwijoker 56

    Ben Thomas forced to eat a rat on TV1 this morning.

  57. observer 57

    So Muller did what he needed to do in the morning interviews. Walker will be gone (after due process and all that).

    That will kill one problem for National (IF Walker goes quietly) but won't kill the other two: the influence of Boag and her good friends in caucus, and the use of the leaks to attack the government. There's no way Woodhouse can pop up next week and say "I have a source that says …". That little pipeline of "scandals" is discredited now.

    • Muttonbird 57.1

      The government still have to find that National Party source in the public service.

      If that person isn't found and charged it will continue to undermine Kiwis confidence in their democracy.

  58. Ad 58

    Hipkins is looking like the right guy for the job.

    He will keep tapping National's wound to keep it open and bleeding right through to the election.

    Dr Clarke would not have had the guile to maximise the political damage to National.

  59. Judy Ann Blakey 59

    Who sent Michelle Boag this information to her private email? And why?

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