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Trashing the country’s Covid response for political advantage

Written By: - Date published: 8:39 am, July 8th, 2020 - 126 comments
Categories: national, same old national, todd muller, uncategorized - Tags: , ,

Yesterday was a pretty spectacular day.  It was the day that the country learned conclusively that for National winning political advantage was more important than keeping the population safe from Covid.

I don’t know what other interpretation to put on it.

Two weeks ago I said this:

It appears that National has decided to oppose every thing the Government is doing.  And publicly trash efforts by claiming that the effort is a national disgrace while pretty well every country is looking at New Zealand and wishing they had achieved something similar.  And I can’t help but wonder if some within National are secretly cheering for a second community outbreak to occur.

Harsh I know.  But how else do you explain Michael Woodhouse’s decision to score political points rather than alert the government about what could have been a significant risk?  That period of a day or so where clearly senior levels of the Ministry of Health did not know about the road trip could have been disastrous.

National’s rhetoric about how badly the Government was doing and how inept its response was can now be augmented by the news that National operatives actively leaked confidential medical information.  And then National jumped up and down about the privacy breach.

Hamish Walker’s explanation does not make sense.  He has offered two explanations.

The first is that he wanted to justify his claim that Indians, Pakistanis and Koreans some infected with Covid were on their way to Queenstown.

The second is that he wanted to highlight the failure of the Government to keep the information confidential.

Neither explanation stands up.  And if the second reason was the real reason he could have gone public and said that he had been given confidential information and then handed it to the authorities.  But I guess then he would have dropped Boag in it.

Audrey Young has poured a huge dollup of scorn on the claim.  From the Herald:

The National Party has suffered a massive breach of sound judgment from top to bottom.

MP Hamish Walker’s confession to being the person who sent the names of Covid-19 patients to media outlets was bad enough — but his apology has reinforced his shocking judgment.

It is an apology for an apology. It smacks of self-righteous post-fact justification, and downright deception.

His statement suggests his motive for sending the list was akin to some kind of white-hat hacker, trying to expose weaknesses in the Government’s information systems.

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

The gall of it.

His actual motive, as understood by my colleague Amelia Wade who received the list, was to defend his reputation against allegations of racism.

He had been accused of racism for saying it was disgraceful that communities in his part of the world, Queenstown and Dunedin, had not been consulted about them possibly being used for managed isolation, and singling out three countries.

“These people are possibly heading for Dunedin, Invercargill and Queenstown from India, Pakistan and Korea.”

Apparently the list he sent through doesn’t actually list country of nationality or where they had flown from and so the list proved absolutely nothing — except poor judgment.

The information concerning where infected kiwis had flown from is paradoxically available publicly.  Figures for the past two months are:

  • India – 17
  • Australia – 11
  • United States – 3
  • Singapore – 1
  • Pakistan – 0
  • North and South Korea – 0

And this morning there were further developments highlighted by Radio New Zealand.  These include:

  • Muller claims that he discovered Walker was the leaker on Monday, July 6 at lunchtime.
  • Walker lawyered up.  Muller held off saying something public for a day because he had to deal with a QC’s letter.
  • Boag confirmed she had received the information via her personal email address.  She has resigned as acting chief executive of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust but from the language used not as a trustee of the trust.
  • Muller claims that to his knowledge no other National MP knew about the leak and this was the actions of a rogue National MP and a rogue former President of the National Party.
  • The Heron inquiry is going to continue.

The lawyering up by Walker is particularly interesting.  What was he hoping to achieve?

This episode displays how poor Walker’s judgment is.  And how much of a mess National’s caucus is in.  And how Muller has no control over his caucus.  And how elements within National are happy to trash the Country’s Covid response for political advantage.

126 comments on “Trashing the country’s Covid response for political advantage ”

  1. infused 1

    sorry, but trashing the country is releasing untested patients. Lets be real here, while it was a fucking stupid thing to do, it doesn't impact the countries response to covid.

    And having the details in an excel document is just stupid, if that is what turns out to be the case. The dude saying gone to great lengths to protect privacy is full of it.

    • observer 1.1

      67 days, no cases. Some trashing.

      • infused 1.1.1

        that's being fucking lucky.

        • Drowsy M. Kram 1.1.1.1

          How many more days needed before it's something more than just "being fucking lucky", in your opinion?

          Face it, the dirty Nats need a real miracle, and Hooton’s not up to manufacturing one; too busy with damage control.

          Better start praying cheeky

        • peterh 1.1.1.2

          fucking lucky, 27000 isolated . 60 positive cases 4000 staff, nurses, cooks, hotel workers ,airline bus drivers, army police, all went home every night all carried on with their jobs next day, NOT 1 transmission 68 days without community transmission all the workers k now they are doing the right things only country with more than500 cases with no border transmission fucking fool

        • Paddington 1.1.1.3

          It's part luck, part leadership, part diligence by kiwi's, part the result of all the hard working people looking after the various systems in place (with a few exceptions – https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2020/07/coronavirus-one-new-case-of-covid-19-at-new-zealand-s-managed-isolation-facilities.html)…on it goes. Our health outcomes have been good, so far. The economic ones, no so much. (https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/money/2020/07/coronavirus-new-zealand-records-biggest-gdp-quarterly-fall-in-29-years-top-kiwi-economist.html).

          • Drowsy M. Kram 1.1.1.3.1

            Maybe the NZ government, having done relatively well on Covid-19 health outcomes (with help from the team of nearly 5,000,000), should now be taking a leaf out of those countries that are doing better on the economic front.

            That said, I'll not support businesses, and political parties agitating for changes that could significantly jeopardise those health outcomes, but that's just me.

            • georgecom 1.1.1.3.1.1

              compared with the rest of the world the Government has done a VERY good job with covid19. Sure, we have had some luck and we needed a bit. If anyone thinks the covid19 response on NZ is a shambles then piss off to Melbourne, the US, Brazil or the UK and don;t bother coming back until the covid epidemic has done its dash.

            • Paddington 1.1.1.3.1.2

              I agree, in principle. However the line is fine. Any relaxation of virtual isolation carries risks. But the economic damage being caused is going to be horrific.

              • Tricledrown

                Paddington Australia is a different economy it doesn't rely on 20% of its income from tourism.

                Look at Victoria paddington.

                I read your article and most commentary by economists were positive overall.

                Hysterical scaremongering is what the National party have been indulging in ,Where has it got them.

                Any one for burnt toast with marmalade.

                • Paddington

                  Australia is indeed a different country. They have much greater challenges dealing with the health consequences of Covid than NZ, including a Federal system, a much larger perimeter, larger population and higher density population centres.

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                Maybe "a fine line" for some businesses and political parties, but not for me.

                • Paddington

                  You're obviously comfortable with hundreds of thousands unemployed, and a debt to GDP ratio that will make your eyes water.

                  • Incognito

                    You’re obviously a simpleton who is comfortable with simplistic thinking and who expects others to be even simpler than you are. Most of your commentary on Covid and our response to the pandemic can be summed up as a binary opposite of death rate vs. economic crash. If you are really as simplistic as your comments suggest it begs the question what line of business you’re in.

                    • Paddington

                      You are obviously a simpleton who can’t distinguish between a binary approach and various points on a spectrum.

                    • Incognito []

                      It is fairly obvious where on the troll spectrum you sit. You argue like a simpleton, you reply like a simpleton, but you are not a simpleton because you run a successful multi-national business group. So, you come here just to annoy people? Don’t be so obtuse.

                    • Paddington

                      That comment rather suggests my last comment hit the nail.

                    • Incognito []

                      When I hold a mirror up to you and you react to the mirror image it is evident that you are missing the point. I have no interest in joining your simplistic discussion, and I didn’t for your information and in case you got confused about that, but I do have an interest in keeping the site free from obtuse commenters who don’t add much to the conversation and distract others with their obtuse reasoning and comments AKA trolls. Your main claim to fame is here is annoying people for no other reason than that you’re annoyed at what you’re reading. This is neither robust debate nor debate in good faith. If an intelligent person doesn’t want to lift their game here they are better off leaving the site. Moderators have more than enough comments to wade through and sift without having to read your obtuse frustrations as well. I hope this helps you decide how you want to continue on TS.

                    • Paddington

                      You clearly don’t have the capacity to follow even the simplest of conversations. You can try to hide that behind your moderators cap, if you choose. Meanwhile, the vast majority of conversations I engage in here are amicable and constructive. Time for you to take a good look in that mirror.

                    • Incognito []

                      Yeah, I did not expect anything different from you but denial and putting it back onto me. This is your MO, i.e. throwing it back at the commenter (e.g. obtuse, simpleton, take a good look in the mirror, et cetera). It’s called deflecting and is a form of denial.

                      Oh, I see, you’ve edited your comment 🙂

                      Never mind, you obviously have not taken in one word I said, which is disappointing. I’m not wearing my “moderators cap” at the mo. As you can tell, I’m commenting here but you choose to see it differently. That’s the trouble with binary thinking, it leads to wrong conclusions.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Haven't mentioned 'unemployment', or 'debt to GDP ratio' – can only speculate about why you might be motivated to cast me as a comfortable villian.

                    Note that I haven't at any point suggested that your concerns about the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic would cause you to prioritise the NZ economy over the health of NZers, nor would I. wink

                    For the record, I'm not "comfortable with hundreds of thousands unemployed" – simply reasonably healthy and wish to remain so. I will continue to support NZ businesses, but I’ve tended not to support businesses that might pose a significant risk to my personal health, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. Is there something about my position that you find unreasonable?

                    While NZ's projected debt to GDP ratio may make your eyes water, I can assure you that mine will remain dry. How high do you think that ratio will get; might we catch up to Australia's, the U.S., or maybe even Japan's?

                    https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/countries-by-national-debt/

                    • Paddington

                      You mentioned 'fine line' in response to my comment about balancing economic and health outcomes. Fairly obvious I would have thought.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      "obvious" – I think that's a fair word to describe which side of your fine line (“However the line is fine.” @1.1.1.3.1.2) each of us is on.

                      The question remains as to "why you might be motivated to cast me as a comfortable villian", not to mention my two questions @2:19 pm.

                    • Paddington

                      You responded to my comment about the line between health and economic outcomes and you can't understand why I mention economic indicators. Think about it.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      "you can't understand why I mention economic indicators"

                      Now you're being obtuse. If you'd rather not answer my questions @2:19 pm then that's fine – no skin off my nose.

                      Btw the way, it’s clear from your brief comment @1:35 pm that you were flat out asserting that I was comfortable with higher levels of NZ unemployment and a higher debt to GDP ratio. I’m certainly not comfortable with the former, more relaxed about the latter.

                    • Paddington

                      "Now you're being obtuse."

                      Not at all. I made a comment about the line between economic and health outcomes. You repeated an expression I used, to which I responded with an example of an economic indicator. You then wrote " Haven't mentioned 'unemployment', or 'debt to GDP ratio' – ". I'd say it's you who is being obtuse.

                    • Paddington

                      "…more relaxed about the latter."

                      I'm not relaxed about either. An increase in the debt to GDP of the level being forecast, along with the collapse in GDP growth, the resultant unemployment and social consequences are indicating serious problems for NZ society down the track.

                      Meanwhile, we now have 24 hour police presence at isolation facilities.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      I’m not relaxed about either” either, but of the two I’m more relaxed about the debt to GDP ratio, because NZ is starting in a relatively good position.

                      If you still believe I'm "obviously comfortable with hundreds of thousands unemployed, and a debt to GDP ratio that will make your eyes water", then you're either delusional or simple.

                      Obviously I won't be on your 'side' of that binary 'fine line' 100% of the time, but I will do what I can, within reason, to use/support local businesses. I do have some genuine and (looking around the world) realistic concerns about the consequences of prioritising economic indicators over community health. I'll even admit to an element of self-interest in those concerns, but there's plenty of self-interest to go around, IMHO.

                    • Paddington

                      " because NZ is starting in a relatively good position. "

                      And will end up in a far poorer position. Along with unemployment etc also going in the wrong direction. Leaving a mountain of debt, and an economy struggling to generate jobs and growth to my children is not my idea of a happy place.

                    • Incognito []

                      The rest is speculation.

                      QFT

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      While I have some sympathy for your legitimate concerns, at the moment there's honestly no country I'd rather be living in than NZ. Maybe that will change – maybe it won't.

                      Our extant human civilisation has probably passed ‘peak rosy future‘, and still "We don't know how lucky we are…"

                    • Paddington

                      smiley

    • mickysavage 1.2

      You should ask those in the medical profession what they think. You think that sabotaging infected people’s privacy and thereby undermining confidence in the health response is nothing to worry about?

      • I Feel Love 1.2.1

        Not just the medical profession, all professions with access to private information, I've done payroll work, plenty of access to individuals personal info, the fact an MP thought it was ok to release this. Appalling, accept it and take responsibility, Walker/Boag/Muller et al fuckef up.

      • peter 1.2.2

        It was terrible terrible in the weekend. Because of factors you mention.

        What is terrible terrible about it today is only that their boy got his hand caught in the till.

        The sanctity of the information is irrelevant to them today.

      • Stunned Mullet 1.2.3

        If this type of deliberate breach by an employee occurred in any medical practice or hospital in NZ the culprit would be dismissed the following day end of story.

        • Lettuce 1.2.3.1

          And that medical practice or hospital would be sued for hefty damages.

          • Stunned Mullet 1.2.3.1.1

            Ah no …..very unlikely in NZ, just censure of the relevant staff plus formal apology is the usual.

            • McFlock 1.2.3.1.1.1

              Depending on the nature of the breach, it could also screw their HISO compliance. Basically they wouldn't be able to share patient data computer:computer with other services. An inconvenience.

              But also, if the deliberate breach was from the service's premises or computer system, that would be theft/dishonestly obtaining.

              It's mysterious appearance in Boag's personal email before she forwarded it was a fortunate communication anomaly by ARHT.

    • mac1 1.3

      Also ask what the Privacy Commissioner thought. Ask what the expert in privacy law, barrister Dalziell, thought. Ask what the reporters are saying- their ethics were applied correctly in the case.

      Now we have to find out what the fellow trustees on the Helicopter trust think, what Muller thinks, what the MoH think regarding 'trusted partners', what the Clutha-Southland National Party think, what the Clutha-Southland electorate thinks….

      What the NZ electorate thinks……..

      We have just heard that Walker is lawyering up, and that Muller is seeking Walker's sacking from National Party membership.

    • xanthe 1.4

      sorry infused but yes trashing! the successful Covid response is because of all of us having the confidence to follow the plan. setting out to dishonestly undermine that confidence really does put each of us in real danger. Covid does not follow the rules of our political game.

    • greywarshark 1.5

      Infused – I have wondered with what? Can you enlighten us or don't you understand anything.

      By the way is that a pop-up cardboard police figure with Walker or whoever one of the National's suits? Who is it and what is he standing by a police sign?

    • Rae 1.6

      It is testament to this govt's ability, having to manage keeping the virus out of the country with one hand and having to defend themselves from ludicrous assaults from across the floor.

      I think for once and for all, they have demonstrated they are more capable of dealing with this, and now that we can simply dismiss anything the opposition says from here on in, they should have a clear path to further success.

      Kiddies, into the corner, the adults have got this.

      By the way the documents were those of Auckland Helicopter Trust, not the govts, not sure how you manage to besmirch them with this when the CEO used her privilege to do this heinous job.

    • newsense 1.7

      Some luck sure. And a lot of hard work and open honest communication. And when something needed doing, listening to everyone, especially the scientists and making decisions. I'd prefer that to politics as normal- obstruct, hide, BS and bluster.

  2. Ad 2

    Hipkins is savvy enough to keep tapping National's bleeding wound right through to the election.

    Once Boag is in court we have just a little chance that her pastry-baked maggot empire will be cut open in court and served back to her.

    That would stink, as well as steam.

    • Just Is 2.1

      Yep, I think Hipkins has the skills to play this issue right up to election day.

      Mullers attempting to distance himself from it this morning, he would've been better doing that yesterday, instead, he tried to use it to discredit the Govt.

    • weka 2.2

      what's the legislation that means this would end up in court? Don't privacy breaches get dealt with first by the Privacy Commissioner?

      • nzlemming 2.2.1

        The QC-led inquiry takes precedence, but the Privacy Commissioner can, IIRC, refer matters for prosecution if the breach is deliberate, egregious and material was obtained illegally. The Police have said they are waiting for a complaint, and I imagine the PC will wait on the QC's results.

        • McFlock 2.2.1.1

          if the breach is deliberate, egregious and material was obtained illegally.

          Oh, but it was emailed to me on my personal account so was placed completely in my possession without me doing anything, I didn't intend to obtain it and the sender had good faith given my role as acting CEO. Therefore the material was obtained legally, if inadvertantly. /sarc

          That "my personal email" is doing a lot of heavy lifting.

          • weka 2.2.1.1.1

            Explains the delays in putting out the statements. Lawyering.

            Is it illegal to obtain but not illegal to distribute?

            • weka 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Have to say National (and NZF) are pretty good at this borderline illegal stuff.

            • McFlock 2.2.1.1.1.2

              Assuming Boag counts as "an agency" under the Privacy Act I suspect distribution would likely be illegal (pay a fine) but not criminal.

              Whereas in some scenarios it might be criminally illegal to obtain it (e.g. using the receptionist's password when the office is empty), or just civil illegal (privacy act fine), or even legal if everyone had reasonable grounds and the thing "slipped through the cracks". But that would still be a privacy breach by the org, so maybe a fine for the org.

  3. Grant Insley 3

    Three questions for Muller:

    1. When he found out on Monday about this potential criminal act, why did he not immediately contact Michael Heron QC to simply put him on notice that information had been received but they would like a few hours to seek legal advice?
    To sit on the information for nearly 30 hours is unacceptable.

    2. Having already known for 30 hours and had time to allow his feelings to surface, when first interviewed late Tuesday afternoon where was today's anger and rejection of Walker??
    Is it not obvious that this stance is now only being taken as a result of the extreme social media disgust and outcry?

    3. Knowing what had occurred how could he hold his head up high on Monday afternoon and all through Tuesday and continue to call the government shambolic whilst posting several images and comments of him having a fantastic day!

    Copied with permission from a post by Fran Farrant.

    • swordfish 3.1

      Is it not obvious that this stance is now only being taken as a result of the extreme social media disgust and outcry?

      When even Kiwiblog regulars express visceral anger at their own Party by a ratio of about 9 to 1 … you know you're in troub.

      • Dennis Frank 3.1.1

        Oh yeah. Farrar reports:

        The National Party board is meeting today to decide the fate of the MP who leaked Covid-19 patient details and leader Todd Muller wants Hamish Walker out. Muller has written to the party’s board asking them to remove Walker from the party, RNZ reports.

        It’s good to see Muller acting strongly on this. There is huge anger within the party at what Walker did. Sadly for Walker, I don’t think he can recover from this.

        • Morrissey 3.1.1.1

          There is huge anger within the party at what Walker did.

          CORRECTION: There is huge anger within the party that Walker and the mastermind Boag were caught.

          • Halfcrown 3.1.1.1.1

            EXACTLY 1000%

          • Chris T 3.1.1.1.2

            "Walker and the mastermind Boag were caught."

            I thought they came forward?

            • Rae 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Only way to go when you are forced into a corner

              • nzlemming

                Buuuuut how were they forced into a corner? Heron had barely got started. And the only way he could have got to Walker was via the actual emails, which are protected under journalistic privilege and would actually require court action to force release. But Walker leaps forward to say "It me!" (at about the same time that Woodlouse states loudly, though no-one was asking "Wasn't me!") before anything other than a list of organisations who might have had access could have been filed. The timing doesn't make sense.

                We know that Walker didn't have an attack of conscience over the weekend – he was still claiming that release of the names was justified by a) his racist claims regarding people coming to Southland for isolation and b) his contention that there had been a security breach because the list wasn't passworded.

                This is an obvious sacrifice play – toss the ingenue to the wolves to protect someone higher in the ranks. Boag had to go as well to give credibility. However, she was Nikki Kaye's campaign manager until this morning. Why would she not pass on such a thing to Kaye? Or one of the more senior MPs like Brownlee? To give it to Walker defies logic.

                • Anne

                  However, she was Nikki Kaye's campaign manager until this morning. Why would she not pass on such a thing to Kaye? Or one of the more senior MPs like Brownlee?

                  She probably did but they didn't pass it on to the media.

                  Police Minister, Nash thinks there are more Nat MPs out there who were in on the action.

            • Drowsy M. Kram 3.1.1.1.2.2

              "mastermind Boag" laugh

              • Morrissey

                In the National Party, she's a mastermind. Which tells us an awful lot about the National Party. sad

            • Rapunzel 3.1.1.1.2.3

              Came forward? What caused that? A sudden dual rush of conscious? If you believe that you'll believe pretty much anything. The game was up, that's the only reason one folded & took the other with them

      • Enough is Enough 3.1.2

        Almost every issue is argued along tribal lines. People will be outraged or defensive depending on whether they wear a red or blue shirt. It is tiresome and pathetic in many ways.

        The pleasing thing about this issue is both sides are coming in hard against Walker and Boag. You can't survive if your own mates are calling for your head.

        Walker and Boag are toast and good riddance.

        • swordfish 3.1.2.1

          Yeah … Orwell had a lot to say about the blatant hypocrisy, double standards & political expediency underlying partisanship. Especially when it becomes self-interested, authoritarian & cultish.like our contemporary Woke chums. A kind of aggressive neurosis (hiding secret shame & fear of cognitive dissonance) mixed with wholesale self-delusion.

          ;

          • Drowsy M. Kram 3.1.2.1.1

            "People who do really good stuff have flaws." – Barack Obama; October 2019

            • swordfish 3.1.2.1.1.1

              The road to hell is paved with good intentions (Proverb of mixed origin)

              Or, just as often, self-interest & power-hunger carefully camouflaged as
              "good intentions".

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                Most people would settle for feeling safe and secure. Maybe I could be persuaded (manipulated?) to march for that, if I didn’t feel safe and secure already. But I’m just not that ‘woke’.

                • swordfish

                  One of my key motivations for regularly sniping at the Woke over recent weeks is the patent lack of safety & security forced on my very elderly Parents by Labour's tacit No Eviction policy. More than two & a half years of violent intimidation, bordering on a kind of domestic terrorism from their State House neighbour and, despite significant attempts at redress by concerned Police & Social Workers … nothing happening. This would be the Labour Party they've devoted most of their lives to.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    That sounds miserable – hope you can assist your parents to improve their situation soon. Can't remember if this has come up before, but would it be worthwhile asking the local MP for help now?

      • georgecom 3.1.3

        In one fell swoop Hamish Walker has handed the leadership of National to Chris Luxon, should he want it. Muller is effectively gone, it's merely a matter of time now. National will be lucky to end up with polling numbers that Bridges was bringing them. Holding that % of votes will be a triumph now. Luxon can bide his time and position himself once in parliament to take the big seat when he is ready.

        [I have changed/corrected your user name three times, as it appeared as an e-mail address, which is confusing – Incognito]

  4. Just Is 4

    Muller seems to have changed tact this morning realising the damage it's caused their election campaign, yesterday he blamed the Govt for poor security and handling, he must have sobered up overnight and realised he needed to be on the right side of this.

    The damage has been done and the Govt are going to get a lot milage out of this if they manage it properly.

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/todd-muller-says-he-doesnt-want-mp-hamish-walker-run-again-after-covid-19-patient-details-leak

    • gsays 4.1

      Labour, under Ardern's leadership, have resisted going for the lower hanging fruit or taking cheap political pot-shots.

      I trust this continues. Better to emphasise their own strengths and 'wins' rather than get down in the mud with the others

      • nzlemming 4.1.1

        There are ways to get leverage from something without wading in the sewer.

  5. That_guy 5

    I think the more important issue here is the popcorn shortage I'm currently experiencing.

    • Anne 5.1

      Panic buying That_guy. There's about 85 days to go and that's a lot of popcorn consumption. I have it on good authority that the popcorn makers have agreed to operate 24/7 for the next four weeks so the shortage is only temporary.

      In the meantime try jellybeans. Not good for the teeth but better than nothing.

  6. KJT 6

    Walker/Boag. "What did we do wrong. Senior members of the party leak private details for political advantage whenever they feel like it". "Why us getting thrown to the wolves?". "It was OK for Bennett".

    • Dennis Frank 6.1

      Farrar: "allowing the leader and health spokesperson to condemn the leak, without telling them he was the leaker, was beyond the pale."

      A good keen man does Barry Crump in politics by being a secret agent though. He doesn't think "Hey, I must tell woodlouse & our interim leader, to get permission." He does macho instead. Rambo cloaked with James Bond is a good mix…

  7. Dennis Frank 7

    Does seem to be a spectacular own goal by the Nats. Still somewhat murky around the faction aspect of things – could be the faction that Muller represents see advantage in presenting as ethical/moral as well as moderate. He keeps pushing that view personally.

    Then the dirty tricks brigade who believe all's fair in love & war try to leverage their position from within. So Muller gets caught between exposing them to demonstrate his strength in leadership, or not doing so because his caucus support isn't that strong…

  8. Muttonbird 8

    Nashy's on the case. Thinks there's a few National Party MPs in on this.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12346300

    • Gabby 8.1

      Does Colonel Comrade conduct espionage seminars for free as a party favour, or does he charge?

  9. ianmac 9

    The Privacy Commissioner said that MPs were exempt from the Privacy Act and therefore cannot be prosecuted under the Act. (This morning on NZR.)

    What! Statements made in the House are exempt but not those outside the House. Surely not?

    • ianmac 9.1

      The National Party sets a climate of Government denigration. Did Walker think he was pitching another arrow like his bosses to hurt the Government?

  10. aom 10

    The line that Boag received the information because of her position has to be a smokescreen to cover a leakers backside. The information leaked was operational so shouldn't have been released to an executive, and certainly not via a personal email.

    • Muttonbird 10.1

      Yes, this seriously needs to be investigated. I won't be though. Bizarrely, the media are taking her at her word.

    • ianmac 10.2

      Unless the Leaker is in the MOHealth and is the same one who leaked the Homeless man, and sent his/her message to Boag?

  11. Observer Tokoroa 11

    vile uncertainty

    The present National Party has determined and published loudly – via its Shamble Arrow – that it will undermine constantly and daily, the highly gifted Present Government.

    As a result, we have no certainty as to whether Todd Muller himself, openly savaged and released Personal and Patient information to his numbers of colleagues.

    Todd Muller, was determined to undermine everybody and anybody – not a member of National.

    He certainly covered up quite a rotten lumps of filth for days..

  12. Observer Tokoroa 12

    vile uncertainty

    The present National Party has determined and published loudly – via its Shamble Arrow – that it will undermine constantly and daily, the highly gifted Present Government.

    As a result, we have no certainty as to whether Todd Muller himself, openly savaged and released Personal and Patient information to his numbers of colleagues.

    Todd Muller, was determined to undermine everybody and anybody – not a member of National.

    He certainly covered up quite a rotten lump of filth for days..

    • Just Is 12.1

      He certainly covered up quite a rotten lump of filth for days..

      Must have have been getting advice and considering how much damage control was needed.

      Had he had any level of honesty and integrity, he would have reported this on Monday.

  13. Morrissey 13

    To quote the late great Monsieur Talleyrand: "C'est pire qu'un crime, c'est une faute."

    • Observer Tokoroa 13.1

      Morrissey – your Mr thingy Muller

      "Was worse than a Crime – he is a Blunder !"

      It reminded me of my evil Frau Boag – a bigger blunder is not to be found.

  14. Whispering Kate 14

    So Morticia has slunk out of her crypt once again. Lordy me that woman has no shame. Our Nicky must be wondering at the irony of all of this. The stupid young MP who picked up the info and ran with it is no different to the MP who taped his staff and lost his Blinglish seat. Doesn't the National Party have any decent people from its pool to gift these seats to.

    What a disgusting state of affairs. Morticia needs the screws tightened to keep her permanently where she deserves to be.

    • Morrissey 14.1

      Doesn't the National Party have any decent people from its pool to gift these seats to.

      Bring back Richard Worth.

      • tc 14.1.1

        Mike sabin or Aaaron Gilmore available ? Wouldn't matter who as true blue nats vote for anyone representing the brand.

    • Anne 14.2

      I go back to the 1970s in NZ politics although my involvement has seesawed between being very active to not active at all over the years.

      This style of political skulduggery was introduced to NZ by one, Robert David Muldoon. He was known to play very dirty when it suited him. The Colin Moyle Affair was a case in point. He was also known to use the SIS to his personal advantage. Then along came Rogernomics and Ruthenasia and the style of 'dog eat dog politics' was cemented in for the next 30 plus years.

      What we might be seeing now is the last gasping breath of Dirty Politics and under Ardern's guiding hand we will see a return to a principled and honest style of political management. If that is her legacy then bring it on and now!

  15. Tiger Mountain 15

    NZ National seem to be trying to contain this and circle Ms Boag and Mr (whites only in Southland) Walker. My prediction is that National’s famous Dirty Tricks dept. is deep in this, and links to other National MPs and staff involved will eventually emerge.

    I sincerely hope this time around more New Zealanders wake up to National’s patented two track strategy. Since “the Hollowmen” the evidence has been there, such leaks and incidents are NZ National SOP not some sort of aberration. Mr Hooton is now close to the Beehive folks, wake up time!

    and…I don’t believe the “decent media” narrative in this Covid leak–the journos and owners want to keep their national aligned snouts in the Ministry, and avoid personal blowback. Publishing the list of 18 would have definitely crossed the line for many.

    • tc 15.1

      What that decent media that's been supplying the Boags and Hootens with soapboxes for year upon year…..surely not.

  16. ScottGN 16

    Hopefully the National Party’s looming thrashing at the election will, to paraphrase the General, bomb them back to the dark ages.

  17. ianmac 17

    The Nats Board is meeting today around midday. They must cauterise sack Walker now. To not do so would undermine Muller.

    How they deal with Boag will be more interesting. After all she is the past President and spokesman in all direction but now her credibility….

  18. Observer Tokoroa 18

    Shoosh pleeez

    Hoskins Hootins and Herald

    Have gone to Hell, each in their own Basket of Bowel slime

  19. EE 19

    Michelle Boag is often referred to as “the former President of the National Party”.
    But her roles in the National Party at the time of the leak were senior postions in both
    the Auckland Central electorate team and was on the 2020 campaign committee for that electorate.
    Did Nikki Kaye also receive the Covid Patients details?

    • weka 19.1

      Good point about the descriptors.

      do you know if any journos are asking who else the info was sent to?

  20. Observer Tokoroa 20

    Morticia

    Do you think we should get Frau Boag a blade from the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

    The Gracious Bank probably won't like things that Frau Boag has stuffed down her attire- as gifts for Giggly Muller.

  21. weka 21

    I hope she loses greatly from this latest shit, but this too,

  22. Melanie Scott 22

    What I wonder is, where does this leave the rescue helicopter outfit. It relies on charitable donations from the public. It could be sued for allowing a breach such as this. Boag has history over questionable dealings with the trust, eg getting them to fly (a fully manned crew was required) to Waiheke to pick up her passport which she had left behind.

    • Brigid 22.1

      Perhaps the people whose names are on the list would care to sue the trust. And boag. They'll know who they are.

      I know if my privacy was breached and my name used for political gain I'd want blood

  23. Just Is 23

    The National Party cheerleaders Tova Obrien and Jesica Much- McCay will be struggling to find a positive spin on this, their much loved "Gotcha" style Journalism has just got them

  24. Ed 24

    While the National Party thinks our government’s COVID policies are a shambles.

    The WHO has praised New Zealand’s response.

    What does that tell you about the National Party?

    “The people & government of #NewZealand, led by @jacindaardern, have shown #COVID19 can be overcome through commitment, action & vigilance. Testing, contract tracing & clear communication to the public are hallmarks of the country’s successful response.'

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/122074593/coronavirus-world-health-organisation-praises-nzs-covid19-response

  25. Tricledrown 25

    Did Michael Woodhouse get his imaginary homeless hotel guest off Michelle Boags list.

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