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Some Random impertinent questions about Michelle Boag’s access to confidential medical information

Written By: - Date published: 8:24 am, July 9th, 2020 - 81 comments
Categories: health, national, same old national, spin, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , ,

No doubt these are matters that the Heron inquiry will delve into.  But Michelle Boag’s self serving press release from two days ago raises more questions than it answers.  Especially after yesterday’s announcement by the Helicopter Trust that information it holds on patients is private with access on a restricted basis and that in its view privacy rights had not been breached.  And her confirmation that she had received the information direct from the Ministry of Health.

She originally said:

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 raises a number of questions:

  • How long had she been receiving sensitive information from the Ministry of Health?
  • How was this arranged?
  • What other information was she provided with?
  • Why was her personal email account and not her Helicopter Trust email used?
  • If the provision of information predates her appointment as acting Chief Executive why was it provided?
  • How can the Helicopter Trust claim that privacy rights had not been breached by it unless in its view Boag was not receiving the information in her capacity as acting Chief Executive?
  • When was she appointed acting Chief Executive?
  • Why did Health think it necessary for this information to be provided daily rather than on a need to know basis?
  • When did she send the information to Walker and was it before or after he claimed that Queenstown was about to be invaded by Indians, Pakistanis and Koreans some of which had Covid?
  • Who else has she forwarded these reports to?
  • Does she really want the country to believe that she has not told her best friend Nikki Kaye about the information?
  • Is this related to the information leaks that Michael Woodhouse has been receiving?
  • Is she the source of the homeless man staying in the Plaza rumour?

Heron has the power to require Boag to produce any documents or things in her possession or control.  A trawl through her email account could provide interesting.

81 comments on “Some Random impertinent questions about Michelle Boag’s access to confidential medical information ”

  1. Andre 1

    A trawl through McFlock's comments in yesterday's Daily Review turns up a lot of plausible and apparently well-informed speculation about possible answers to some of those random questions.

  2. I Feel Love 2

    She said herself she has been receiving the info since the pandemic in NZ began. Why? That is the question.

    • Anne 2.1

      Because she asked for them? We're talking about the Queen B of NZ remember. She gets whatever she wants.

      Who – as in identity of individual – put her on the list? That is the question.

  3. Incognito 3

    What are the Terms of Reference of the enquiry and the time lines?

    Surely, MoH will know if Boag was on an authorised e-mail distribution list to receive said information.

  4. Enough is Enough 4

    We know where the information ended up. The key question is where did it originate from?

    Something untoward is going on within the MoH

  5. Frida 5

    As a health and privacy lawyer I am deeply concerned about this and I agree Micky, these questions all need to be answered.

  6. dv 6

    Yah recon that email still exists?

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    I sincerely hope Mr Heron is able to keep digging, because it really does appear there is a significant National mole in the MoH along with all the garden variety tory snitches in the public service.

    During the lockdown, Immigration was initially one Dept. that had difficulty enabling ‘work from home’ due to security issues. And during the height of the ‘Soubrek affair’ Simon Bridges had a near permanent early morning RNZ slot dropping the latest morsels of Govt embarrassing material someone had supplied to him over night.

    National has a busy dirty tricks IT group operating out of its parliamentary services anyway, regardless of whether Mr Brownlee’s “intelligence unit” was ever a reality. Seven year old social media files were trawled to get rid of one POTENTIAL Labour Candidate, so the Nat filthy squad should not be under estimated.

    • Anne 7.1

      …it really does appear there is a significant National mole in the MoH along with all the garden variety tory snitches in the public service.

      There's been plenty of those tory snitches down through the decades – fossicking into the personal lives of P.S. employees and leaking information to politicians and other agencies. I had one of those snitchy bosses.

      A National mole in the MOH? More like several moles if past practice is any indication.

  8. riffer 8

    Jesus, I hope this isn't going to turn into a "but her emails" election. Is there any legal impact if these emails have been deleted?

    Methinks MOH might have some questions to answer if it turns out that they were supplying emails to Michelle Boag on a regular basis, number one being who else is in receipt of this regular update, and can they explain the methodology behind choosing the recipients?

    • mary_a 8.1

      @ riffer (8) … I believe it is practice that all emergency and rescue services, of which the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust is one, are kept updated with official information regarding the present Covid-19 outbreak. This is a precautioary measure so medical and emergency personnel are able to protect themselves should they come into contact with an identified infected person as part of their work.

      Could be how Michelle Boag came to be on the mailing list, in her then capacity of acting CEO of ARHT. How that information was used and abused by her is the main issue here!

  9. George 9

    Again I mention the well publicised events in 2012 with Bronwyn Pullar ..leaked ACC claimant details of quite a few thousand people, and Michelle Boag slap bang in the middle.. on that occasion the details were " accidentally emailed" to Boag's friend Pullar. Quite the coincidence. How many of us or our friends are sent the medical files of others in such a way? Then they were sent to a reporter…sound familiar? Then Boag was representing Pullar in these ACC conferences where it was claimed by ACC that Pullar had asked for a large amount of money. You can Google this. It was about 8 years ago. Someone knows someone….

    • Wensleydale 9.1

      Happens to me all the time. I've lost count of how many times I've been 'accidentally' sent confidential government files. I've had to set up multiple e-mail accounts just to evade the torrents of scandal-ridden spam I'm sent on a daily basis.

      But seriously, that's a bullshit line and everyone knows it. This is National being National again. They couldn't lie straight in bed if you strapped them to a spinal board.

  10. Sacha 10

    All good questions, and so far we have only heard Boag's story about it all – which is to be trusted accordingly.

  11. mac1 11

    The question that also came to my mind was that fact that a member of a Trust is acting CEO of that Trust.

    Surely that is a very unusual arrangement with conflicting roles of governance and management?

    So the question of why and for how long is also pertinent.

    • Bill hanna 11.1

      mac1 My thoughts exactly

    • Sacha 11.2

      Operators like her thrive on conflicts of interest. And NZ's weak governance culture enables them.

      • tc 11.2.1

        Governance setup to achieve certain objectives as we've seen again and again.

        Governance doesn't mean it's good or serves the people. Ours serve the club.

        Our corporate governance has been a joke since the 90’s with international fund managers.

      • Chris 11.2.2

        And she doesn't communicate, she only bullies.

    • NZJester 11.3

      Also how she was even given that role after having misused the Rescue Helicopter back in 2006 to go get her passport for her she had left at home when going on a trip out of the country.

  12. 'WHO' is running the MOH ?

  13. Ffloyd 13

    Anyone seen Key lately. When there’s a bad smell he’s not usually far away.

    • tc 13.1

      Bad for his brand to be reminded of his absence of leadership when pullya did it as a minister.

  14. greywarshark 14

    I think that there has been a long-term government plan to make information about citizens available to all 'players' in the 'government business'. It is to primarily avoid double-ups on payments or concessions or treatments between departments and agencies and government/local government I believe. To cut down on fraud, and prevent people being able to ask for help from more than one entity so the authorities can be as miserly and cheese paring as possible.

    Also it is for fast access of patient records in medical emergencies. And for police to have fast access to anything they might decide they want to know.

    So it would probably be normal to have this information floating round on the ether. It seems to me it's like a smorgasbord out there. I used to work for solicitors and they would talk together about their clients private matters – it was an in-group of discreet, principled people. But now with the onset of the huge information hungry social media, and young people's incredible willingness to participate with a slogan in mind 'There are no strangers, only friends you haven't met', the idea of being an individual person in charge of your own life and details is well eroded.

  15. Chris 15

    Where have I seen that phrase 'some random impertinent questions' before?

  16. Chris T 16

    You might want to add, assuming the reports it was a spreadsheet are true.

    Why was it sent to a private email address?

    Why was it not password protected/or encrypted (like basic fricken shit)?

    Why it actually needed to be sent to her?

    Who is the idiot that decides who gets these emails?

    • Dennis Frank 16.1

      The Nat mole in the health dept who did it knew to send it to someone who would use it against the govt. Isn't that obvious? As regards the computer forensics, leave it to the QC because speculation is a waste of time. Mind you, the last QC Labour hired failed at that task – just issued a cover-up without even tracking the emails, so we ought not to expect competence!

      • Chris T 16.1.1

        Fair call.

        Like all of these things it will never probably come out any way.

        (from our most open and transparent govt ever, who ends up being just like the others)

        • Sacha 16.1.1.1

          The person who called this govt "open and transparent" was Clare Curran. That's all.

          • Enough is Enough 16.1.1.1.1

            "This government will foster a more open and democratic society. It will strengthen transparency around official information."

            J. Ardern

          • Chris T 16.1.1.1.2

            I can dig out the quotes from Ardern saying it if you like, but it would be annoying, you are the only one denying it and it is a bit have you not looked at the media.

          • observer 16.1.1.1.3

            People like to quote that comment, but the following are both entirely possible – and probably true:

            1) The government is not open and transparent.

            2) The government is the most open and transparent ever.

            If no. 2 is false, we need to name a predecessor, and I welcome suggestions.

            • Chris T 16.1.1.1.3.1

              Probably no govt has been open and transparent.

              The point is pretending you will be is quite laughable

              • woodart

                like pretending to do away with unneccesary red tape?bonfire of regulations etc.

      • Incognito 16.1.2

        I would not expect competence from a QC and former Solicitor General. They’re just hired to whitewash and spin away inconveniencies and remove ‘disturbances in the force’. /sarc

        Mind you, you’re completely wrong about who hired the QC. Hint: it is not Labour.

        But don’t let a tiny inconvenient fact spoil your nice wee rant 😉

    • I received privalaged emails from the MOH all through the lock down, none since it ended, never were names and places other than reference to known clusters used. Always to a work Email not private.

      The MOH is too savy to release information that would identify individuals, so this breech has a real stink to it. The accessing of information is all traceable, DHB,s conduct random audits of who accesses what information, people are gone overnight if found to be inbreech, they then lose there health registrations with their professional bodies. Someone somewhere will be shitting themselves waiting for the knock on the door.

      • Anne 16.2.1

        Very interesting. Thank you Psych Nurse.

        Names and addresses of Covid patients sent to Michelle Boag was one very large red flag from the start. No way was she in a position that entitled her to such a privilege – especially given her extremely close emotional and ideological ties to a major political party.

        • Peter 16.2.1.1

          "No way was she in a position that entitled her to such a privilege – especially given her extremely close emotional and ideological ties to a major political party."

          Did some minions in the MSD decide that Winston Peters' confidential information should go to people with close emotional and ideological ties to a major political party?

          On grounds that were superficial and spurious? And that serious, independent in-depth consideration and analysis of those grounds was secondary to following other smells on other tracks?

          • Anne 16.2.1.1.1

            On grounds that were superficial and spurious? And that serious, independent in-depth consideration and analysis of those grounds was secondary to following other smells on other tracks?

            WTF?surprise

            And what's WP got to do with it?

      • Chris 16.2.2

        Yes, health information has its own specific set of privacy rules so just the fact something like this was sent to someone like Boag says a lot.

  17. joe90 17

    @ Chris T (no reply function)

    My SO convenes multiple inter-agency panels and manages spreadsheet data on agency platforms. Using a private address points to a deliberate circumvention of platform protocols.

    Dirty politics from a rotten to the core party helmed by amoral, born to rule fuckwits.

    [Added a space after full stop to improve readability]

    • Chris T 17.1

      Sorry but that is a crock of shit.

      You don't send private data to private emails.

      And even to govt addresses

      It should at the very least be password protected if you are stupid enough to do so.

      Edit: Information that sensitive

    • Chris T 17.2

      As an aside I am not denying the Nat MP behaved appallingly

      The dude is obviously an arsehole, but you also need to look at how he obtained the data and the basic security of the system.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 17.2.1

        It's regrettable that the constituents of the Clutha-Southland electorate have had to endure a brace (at least) of MPs who exhibited such a paucity of political perspicacity. Surely that electorate must get lucky eventually.

        • Wensleydale 17.2.1.1

          I wouldn't hold my breath. It's been said you could pin a blue rosette on a goat down there and they'd vote for it.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 17.2.2

        Repeating the current National Party mantra – "individual bad apple, rogue operator" etc etc.

        When in fact the actual issue is that the Dirty Politics culture is alive and well in National and as a party they routinely display the morals of an alley cat selling meth outside a kindergarten (and the meth is drain cleaner just disguised to look like meth).

      • Chris 17.2.3

        Regardless of how sensitive information may be, there will always be a human who has control over that information. If that human decides to treat that information in a way they're not supposed to, no system security can necessarily stop that.

  18. joe90 18

    As I said, data is managed on secure platforms and accessed by those with appropriate permissions. Someone has circumvented platform protocols and forwarded data to an amoral party with an history of playing fast and loose with private information.

  19. Chris 19

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/122081806/michelle-boag-offers-to-resign-from-simplicity-kiwisaver-board

    Boag's income is going to take a hit over this. How many more parasitic and narcissist-driven sweet numbers does she have? If they all come crumbling down there'll be very little left for her to milk.
    Her complete and utter irrelevance will be on show for all to see..

    • woodart 19.1

      she still will be getting the pension, until the nats means test it!

      • Chris 19.1.1

        That's all though, but I suppose the chances of her being a slum landlord are pretty high, too, so there's always that.

    • Paddington 19.2

      Good! This person has been a stain on politics for far too long.

  20. Brian Tregaskin 20

    I received privalaged emails from the MOH all through the lock down, none since it ended, never were names and places other than reference to known clusters used. Always to a work Email not private.

    The MOH is too savy to release information that would identify individuals, so this breech has a real stink to it. The accessing of information is all traceable, DHB,s conduct random audits of who accesses what information, people are gone overnight if found to be inbreech, they then lose there health registrations with their professional bodies. Someone somewhere will be shitting themselves waiting for the knock on the door.

    NZ could be looking at its first treason charge against an individual if there is indeed a "MOH leaker" (employee or contractor) and if the actions endangered the NZ People.

    • woodart 20.1

      yes, sending personal medical history with names and addresses to a private email address is the killer. there will be nerds frantically trying to erase the trail, but luckily(?) our electronic footprint can be traced back, even with burner phones. and the g.p.s. will show where the phone was while being used. aint big brother wonderful? nothing to hide, nothing to fear..

    • Adrian 20.2

      Treason! Great, do we still do Capital Punishment. ? quick, order the popcorn.

  21. Brian Tregaskin 21

    New Zealand

    New Zealand has treason laws that are stipulated under the Crimes Act 1961. Section 73 of the Crimes Act reads as follows:

    Every one owing allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen in right of New Zealand commits treason who, within or outside New Zealand,—

    (a) Kills or wounds or does grievous bodily harm to Her Majesty the Queen, or imprisons or restrains her; or

    (b) Levies war against New Zealand; or

    (c) Assists an enemy at war with New Zealand, or any armed forces against which New Zealand forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between New Zealand and any other country; or

    (d) Incites or assists any person with force to invade New Zealand; or

    (e) Uses force for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of New Zealand; or

    (f) Conspires with any person to do anything mentioned in this section.

    The penalty is life imprisonment, except for conspiracy, for which the maximum sentence is 14 years' imprisonment.

    MOH leaker could be charged under f (maximum sentence is 14 years' imprisonment.)

    • McFlock 21.1

      F? Conspiring to do what…levy war against NZ via email? lol

      • Brian Tregaskin 21.1.1

        Not the email –other things

        If there is a "MOH Leaker" and that persons actions led to a case of COIVD-19 community transmission by leaking information to an opposition party and both parties don't act on the alarm and sit on it—e and f charges could apply. An intentional COIVD-19 community transmission would be Force.

        e) Uses force for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of New Zealand; or

        (f) Conspires with any person to do anything mentioned in this section.

        • McFlock 21.1.1.1

          How is it "overthrowing the government of New Zealand"?

          I think you're massively overreaching there.

          • Brian Tregaskin 21.1.1.1.1

            Let me spell it out to you if the National party sat on information in the hope a community transmission may happen "if we wait long enough" to bring down the current Government of New Zealand.

            changing the subject from treason from Daily blog -quote
            When the confession came from Walker and resignation from Boag, we knew we were seeing the biggest political story in NZ for many years. We all accept our media is running interference for the National Party and for National to win in September, NZ must lose the Covid battle. The biggest question now was how will our media sell what’s unfolded?

            • McFlock 21.1.1.1.1.1

              Besides the fact that Boag did the opposite of "sitting on information", you can't "overthrow" the government by winning an election.

              Otherwise every party campaigning for the last 150 years has been committing treason.

        • Gabby 21.1.1.2

          I don't think so Tim. Nobody's conspiring with someone who is using force etc.

  22. Heather Tanguay 22

    The questions raised by Micky are all most interesting and I sincerely hope we get the answers. I am pleased that the independent enquiry is going ahead, hopefully that will provide the answers.

    I agree with the comments about Governance at the Helicopter Trust. Was Boag both the CEO and a member of the Trust. Who were the people who stated the Helicopter Trust did not receive the emails?

    Can not believe there are only the two of them involved.

  23. The intrigue is fascinating, better than Sherlock Holmes

  24. NZJester 24

    MSN has reprinted a story from The Spinoff by Sam Brooks their Culture Editor.

    A list of some of her greatest Hits.

    https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/national/the-insider-three-decades-of-amazing-michelle-boag-headlines/ar-BB16uNo1

    How was she sill on that board after sending the rescue helicopter to pick up her passport back in 2006?

  25. JustMe 25

    Michelle Boag is obviously a very nasty piece of work and probably has been all throughout her lifetime. In fact I was talking to a neighbour recently who grew up near to the Boag's in Glen Eden. I was told she was a nasty person even as a child and it has continued even into 'adult-hood'. He said he is pleased she has been caught out as it has been a long time in coming.

    Recently we heard Michelle Boag again demean herself and her beloved NZ National Party by trying to blame the Minister of Health for the personal information of the COVID-19 patients being sent to her. She resorted to the typical National Party Mantra of blaming everyone else but the face staring back at say Michelle Boag in the mirror of her life.

    She deliberately and without an iota of remorse or conscience breached the right to privacy of NZ citizens and all for the purpose of National gaining 'brownie point' politically. What a shallow creature she truly is. I have come to the conclusion in regards to Michelle Boag that she is living proof that both Satan and the NZ National Party would be so proud to have her within their midst. Well done National for showing to us all what most humans should never be like.

    Her short-sightedness is a bad reflection back upon National and so on her head be it(whatever Muller and National decide). If National gives her a mere slap on the hand with a wet bus ticket then it's likely she will not have learnt a lesson from it all and will embarrass National again later on down the track. I am sure she has embarrassed the previous National government in the past i.e about 2011 or so.

    Boag mis-used resources i.e had a Rescue Helicopter fly from Mechanics' Bay to Waiheke Island and then onto the Auckland International Airport because Boag had left her 'passport' on the Island. The cost of that flight was $4000.00. I am now wondering if Boag paid that or if she made the payment as a donation so as to claim it back in tax later.

    The General Election is not too far away and whilst National resorts to dirty politics I am hoping their actions will catch up on them at the voting booths around the country. I am sure NZers cannot stand this sort of behaviour from those elected to serve them.

    My tolerance of National and its supporters is non-existent now. I think alot of NZers are feeling this way. We are fed up with the petty nasty behaviour of elected members of society who hold the right to privacy of those in their electorates with utter contempt.

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