Michelle Boag confesses she also sent National's Michael Woodhouse Covid-19 patient details for political gain; Relinquishes her membership of the party, resigns as Trustee of Simplicity Charitable Trust

Michelle Boag confesses she also sent National's Michael Woodhouse Covid-19 patient details for political gain; Relinquishes her membership of the party, resigns as Trustee of Simplicity Charitable Trust
Michelle Boag

Former National President Michelle Boag is relinquishing her membership of the party and resigning as a Trustee of the Simplicity Charitable Trust, admitting to leaking more Covid-19 patient information for political purposes.

She said in a statement that towards the end of June she sent several emails to National’s health spokesperson, Michael Woodhouse, “comprising notification of a small number of then new Covid-19 cases”.

Woodhouse confirmed this, saying that between June 21 and 25 he received four unsolicited emails from Boag containing patient details.

A National spokesperson told interest.co.nz Woodhouse told National Leader Todd Muller of these emails on Tuesday night. 

However neither Muller nor Woodhouse admitted to this, with Muller saying he hadn't sought assurances from other MPs around whether they'd received private information from Boag. He said he was confident the issue was between Boag and National MP Hamish Walker.

Woodhouse explained: “Michelle told me she received this information through her role with the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust and I was led to believe it was circulating among a number of other health agencies.

“I recognised that the information in those emails was private so I did not share it with anyone else and I subsequently deleted them.

"I can confirm that Michelle Boag is not the source of any previous information released by me in relation to the Government’s Covid-19 response."

Both Woodhouse and Boag said they would cooperate with Michael Heron QC, appointed by the State Services Commission to do an investigation following patient details being leaked to media.

After the investigation was announced on Monday, Boag confessed she leaked the information to Walker, who sent it to media – reportedly to try to justify a seemingly racist claim he made about overseas returnees. Walker resigned on Tuesday, after Muller said he wanted him gone.

It is still unclear how and why Boag received the information.

She said she received it from the Ministry of Health in her capacity as the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust acting CEO (which she has since stepped down from), and that it was sent to a private email address.

However, the Trust said Boag never had access to patient information and it doesn’t believe it’s been subject to a privacy breach.

The Ministry won't comment while Heron's investigation is underway. 

The investigation is expected to conclude in about two weeks' time. 

Simplicity CEO Sam Stubbs said, "Simplicity now has 60 volunteers, and as a foundation Trustee of our charity, Michelle was one of the first.

"She has been a huge supporter, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without her input. Her understanding of the charitable sector has been very useful, and that will be missed.”

Here’s Boag’s statement in full:

The last few days have underscored for me the unhealthy relationship I have developed with politics.  For 47 years, I have devoted much of my professional and personal life to supporting the party that for me has always represented the ultimate kiwi values of hard work, reward for effort, self-reliance and compassion.   Unfortunately this passion has put me on a self-destructive path.    This was confirmed for me as I wrote to Michael Heron QC last night to advise him that towards the end of June I had sent several emails to Michael Woodhouse comprising notification of  a small number of  then new Covid19 cases.   My decisions to share this information were wrong, driven by my distorted view that providing that information would help the National Party to hold the Government to account.  In fact it was harmful, not helpful, and it is time that the National Party and I parted ways.

Since joining the National Party at 18, I have tried, sometimes way too hard, to support the Party in any way I could.   After resigning as President following the 2002 General Election, I continued to defend and advocate for the Party in many forums, including accepting invitations to provide political commentary.   In none of those forums was I the official representative of the National Party, yet media and political opponents saw my comments as “the National Party” and I in turn felt the need to defend any National Party perspective.    

My strong sense of obligation to others has manifested itself in extensive work for charities and individuals in need over many years, but in respect of the National Party, my loyalties have severely clouded my judgement.    I was always available to defend,  to support and to advocate for the Party and its MPs.    I have become an unhelpful distraction in the current political environment.     I apologise to all those who have been collateral damage in my quest, both inside and outside the Party and I deeply regret my actions.

I hope my resignation will allow the Party to get on with its vital task of setting out its pathway for New Zealand’s future in the upcoming General Election.   The governance and direction of New Zealand, its economic stewardship and the wellbeing of all New Zealanders is the most important issue right now.

I am grateful for the many friends I have made through politics and for their recent support for me personally.   Right now, my task is to assist the investigation being carried out by Michael Heron QC and face the consequences of my actions.

I will be making no further comment at this time. 

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126 Comments

Bye Felicia

19
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So, was Boag also the infamous tipster to Woodhouse re the Homeless Man myth? Most probably!

33
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To corrupt yourself to the point of using individuals’ confidential information, so disdainfully and venally, for political gain smacks of fanaticism. She should resign from New Zealand as well.

Thank goodness we don't have to listen to her dribble on the radio any more. I wonder what proxy CINO has been the msm will roll out now. At the rate it is going it will be Muller by next week.

14
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There needs to be some criminal prosecutions under privacy act. These politicians and their associated people have become rotten to the core. The Nationalist Party are now a symbol of corruption, deception, arrogance and nastiness. Cant believe i voted for them. Not any more

These people need to be removed from NZX boards, Charities, etc. I do not trust them at all anymore.

Boag will be well aware that she could face prosecution......

No doubt she feels much like Prince Andrew and various others - the whole lot of them fearing a prison sentence......

Of course, this is not the first time that Boag has fallen from grace.

Michelle Boag is as hard as hell. The softest part of Boag is her teeth.

TTP

For those who know her wouldn't be able to tell if she was a friend or a foe.
One very bad lady.
She should spend some time in jail, with the hard men prisoners.

No, that one he made up, all by himself, I'd wager

12
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Hang on. Between 21 & 25 June Woodhouse received unsolicited emails with CV19 patient details. RNZ web 6 July 5.37am Wood house is saying “unconscionable and unacceptable ............ private details being leaked.” Was he incapable of joining the dots that it might be something to do with those June emails? Somebody help me. I must be missing something surely.

Just like the time (as Veteran's Affairs Minister) he saw his surname on a cenotaph in Turkey and decided to claim the fallen soldier was his great uncle.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10065941/Minister-apologises-fo...

19
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good riddance

18
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Her contribution to the country can be measured in millimeters.

27
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stop exaggerating

micrometers?

Getting closer

20
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Until a couple of weeks ago I wasn't writing the Nats off re: the election, especially given the unexpected victories of Ardern and Trump last time.
However, I have now written them off...

I wouldnt write off the possibility of Labour snatching defeat from the jaws of victory just yet.

I would.
To win it the Nats would need someone with Jacinda-like charisma. Muller just hasn't got it.

National need a community outbreak to have a slither of hope

Old Hoots will be out back somewhere, on the dark web, looking to buy some cans of Covid 19 spray

Don't give their dirty politics arm ideas.

"Nats would need someone with Jacinda-like charisma. Muller just hasn't got it"
C'mon his charisma is about the same level as a fence post!

I'll be arguing against voting for National to all my friends and family in the lead up to the election. As far as I'm concerned the only legitimate conservative/liberal option is Act. When National aren't being corrupt they're selling out to the left. No thanks.

Conservative/liberal? Oh boy.

*balanced

Oil and water

Peanut butter and jam

Not even close, they are opposites, opposites don't find themselves in the one party, and that is that.

Not really. A party could apply principles from both leanings to create an alternative philosophy. Maybe promote political freedom and autonomy, whilst applying authority and oversight in targeted areas to protect the overall wellbeing of society.

What targeted areas? Don't be silly, especially when it comes to personal freedoms, conservatives cling to their bibles while liberals embrace most aspects of it. Only things economic can co-habit, such as they do in just about all political parties that exist, but issues of personal freedoms, nope, opposites do not coalesce there.

Crime for one. Both Conservatives and Liberals agree that harmful behaviours are to be discouraged and punished. Provided your personal freedoms don't harm someone else's, I think both sides would be satisfied. The problem with political genres is they stereotype and segregate ideas aka tribalism. Just like your Bible comment

Well, that does NOT describe conservatives, the New Conservatives are what conservatives are, Conservatives are NOT libertarian at all. They even have a policy of placing solo mothers into homes of married people, THAT is conservatism, the ugliest of all political leanings IMHO, they have zero interest in staying out of the private lives of others. ACT was founded as a libertarian party. A former leader, Rodney Hide, self describes as an anarchist. What he stood/stands for is what ACT was founded on.

This might be surprising to you, but conservatives and liberals actually agree on certain things. The right to bear arms, fiscal responsibility, low taxation for example. Act is certainly more liberal than conservative, but then you're not going to National if you want conservative now either, are you?

Do you live in New Zealand? There is no right to bear arms here - and never has been. The rest of your examples are commonly called neoliberalism, a tired and failed philosophy, as the past 40 years has shown.

You're confusing liberal with libertarian

I think the original comment about that probably was as well.

Conservatism, to my mind, is probably the absolute worst on the political spectrum, has far too much of a tendency to want to control (esp) women's right, especially reproductive ones. It is repressive and backward looking

A vote for Act is technically a vote for National.

15
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Do you trust National not to pass on our personal information to secure their place at the CCP table?

Have you asked Raymond Huo?

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/116715353/labour-mp-raymond-hu...

I don't disagree with him, but if you're going to panic about reds under the bed then at least be consistent about it.

As far as we are aware, only one has had priors with Spy Central CCP

Good point.

He aint standing in the next election... need to move on to your next conspiracy theory.

Conspiracy theory? Yeah right

Are you for real or is it satire ? No one can be that naive !

10
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National Party = CCP. Full Stop

Seems like Yang has said he won't contest the election. Maybe Muller really is getting the broom out.

Perhaps the CCP doesn't feel the need for Yang anymore if others are sufficiently compromised? Look for revolving door politics and National party alumni on the boards of Chinese companies following their terms.

Perhaps Paula might finally get a knock on the door. LOL!

Yang will still be doing the CCP's work..... still at the expense of the New Zealand taxpayer. After his 9 years: gilt-edged pension, travel for him & wifey for life, and the list goes on. We've been classically conned!

"Do you trust National not to pass on our personal information.."
No need they all have Tiktok installed in their phones.

16
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She has been pure poison for a long time. Mind, we did get a bit of entertainment from her recently with the whole other "18 Covids" comment, straight from the Kelly Anne Conway playbook.

Yes agree. Plain outright dumb W trash.

Note to the woke: If you would not replace W with B for fear of being called racist then what you have said is inherently racist.

Speaking of colour, actually what colour is she ? She looks more "coffee coloured" to me.

Or has she got a "Trump Tan" going on? She needs to move to the US. Trump will agree with her other 18 Covids theory.

Possibly fake tan from some thrashy studio in Ponsonby

Or the time she commandeered a Westpac Rescue Helicopter to fetch her passport from Waiheke Island.

12
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Who needs virus when have Boag infecting body politic

The Boag cluster?

17
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This from an ex party president? What do National even stand for in 2020? They are so irrelevant it's almost certain Labour and the Greens will be able to form a government alone. Muller is not the guy to pull them out of this mess, they need someone with charisma and empathy.

16
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They stand for power for the corporations, and political favours for board positions. They stand for supply side economics to the neglect of the economy as a whole.

they need someone with charisma and empathy.

Like Crusher!

The machine has pointed the bone at Jian Yang. Crusher wouldn't even get to the starting post

They need someone with a bit of integrity!

Integrity and politics are mutually exclusive terms

Why did she receive the information in the first place and who gave it to her?
Surely some one from the MOH.

I saw some reporting suggesting that the MOH was routinely emailing the helicopter trust (and others?) about COVID-19 positive patients, incase they needed to fly them anywhere. This was understandable during level 3 and 4 lockdown, but appears the process was still in place, even for these people in quarantine, for which the helicopter trust would have no need to know the information.

So a bit of a stuff-up on the ministry's side there, but Boag obviously took a terrible way to raise that as an issue needing sorting.

Except she wasn't raising it as an issue for sorting. She was trying to create an environment of mistrust in the Government's approach using priviledged, confidential, information.

Let's not in anyway sugarcoat the dastardly nature of the actions by Boag and Co!

10
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NZ politics is certainly top heavy with narcissists.

its a pre-requisite

Important tidbit from the Herald not included in Interests' write up above. Editing for context is mine:

[Woodhouse's] confession follows National Party leader Todd Muller's comments yesterday that he had not asked his MPs whether they had received confidential information as Walker had.

"The issue is sorted from my perspective," [Muller] told reporters yesterday.

But a party spokeswoman told the Herald that Muller knew about Boag's emails to Woodhouse on Tuesday.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12347017

So on Tuesday Muller knew Boag had leaked to another MP and as recently as Thursday was suggesting there was no further information to come about Boag leaking to his MPs.

My god, what a despicable person. At least she had the gumption to admit she was waaaay out of line (well publicly), but that doesn't mean you don't get punished. If this is the measure of public relations expertise in this country, the industry is in serious trouble. And it seems Woodhouse didn't tell Muller about the breach either...

All of this is happening over email too - an insecure communication medium.

Muller knew on Tuesday that Woodhouse had received the emails from Boag, according to the Herald.

12
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And she only admitted she was out of line because she got caught. Shame on her.

11
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All Labour and Ardern have to do at this stage is sit quietly; say as little as possible and watch National, and the struggling minnows, try to provoke them into action. It's now Labour's game to lose, and winning could be winning big.

Oh, it's only "now" Labour's game to lose, after they had the highest single-party and preferred PM polling results ever.

Just saying. Teressa May thought she had it in the bag, and look what happened!

No, National hit 60% a couple of times in 2011, and John Key up to 70% in preferred prime minister.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_2011_New_Zealand_g...

and John Key up to 70% in preferred prime minister.

Only ever in the "Herald Digipoll" which is no longer run, and each of those times it was 10-15 points higher than the other polls. Clearly a biased poll, either in their sampling, their processing, or perhaps simply how they worded the question (eg they may have forced people to select an answer from their list of names).

"Muller earlier in the week said he had not sought assurance from other MPs, including Woodhouse, around whether they'd received private information from Boag. He was confident the issue was between Boag and Walker."
So either Woodhouse lied to Muller, or Muller knew Woodhouse had received emails from Boag ?

Oops , read it wrong. He had NOT sought assurance. Apologies

Much is being read into Woodhouses response or lack thereof to receiving this email. But as someone likely dealing with hundreds of emails every day he more than likely thought 'so what' and deleted it. That Boag had to resort to a low level country bumpkin like Walker as a vehicle for her power and control urges suggests she was not getting responses from more senior MPs.

Generally, I agree.
However...
Woodhouse confirmed this, saying that between June 21 and 25 he received four unsolicited emails from Boag containing patient details.

Yep. Annoying mosquito simply swatted away and not discussed with anyone or did he chat with those higher up?. If the latter and they did not alert MOH to the breach then Muller has some explaining to do. Either way it is reasonable to infer from Boag going to a lower level dupe that she got no bites from Woodhouse. Unless there's a deeper conspiracy but against that why would you choose someone like walker as your front of stage. All very intriguing.

Yang just quit.

Yeah, I just heard that but couldn't find anything to confirm it. *Wonders why*

The unreasonable demands of public office.
i.e. Talking to your constituents.

In all reality, however, it wasn't a National Party decision. Especially after they just promoted him up the list.
In my opinion he is (was) likely quite an important fixer for the party.

Where's Winston on this ? He would normally be all over it . Me thinks talks are ongoing with the NATs for a Gifted Northland seat .

He's having surgery. I'm not really surprised as I thought his complexion looked rather pallid during a recent interview.

"I will not stand in the 2020 general election," Yang said in a statement this morning."
Mass clean out.

The whispers from his "constituency" is the money tree has dried up - for this current round

I'd be more inclined to think National fancies their chances at courting NZ First's donors and can do without the extra scrutiny he brings.

13
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The wicked witch is dead and the CCP spy is gone? Crazy times.

I wonder if National will ever get around to apologizing for mass immigration and the property ponzi.

Rumour is that Labour and Nats are going to make a joint apology.

That I would actually like to see.

Why would a politician apologize for anything.

Maybe for being a man.

Good one.
Indeed, National need Cunliffe back as the Labour leader to have any chance come September. John Key had it too easy.

I can see JA is rubbing her hands, she is looking at this saga... moooaaawhahaha

Probably not given she has a Beijing university political science grad in her own ranks.

How does that condemn him?

My point exactly - it doesn't. In this country we judge a person on their present merits.

for these people politics is a game. There are lots of this personality type in politics in NZ.

If you think of it as just a game to them, perhaps it can help explain behaviour

This piece has been updated quite a few times, just FYI. Muller is doing a press conference at 12.30, so more will follow then...  

National really, really need to reset, to something much more akin to NZ First.

Hmmm Nationals mass immigration and support asset sales to offshore interests policy's would need to change radically for that to happen.

Muller has a degree in political science and history. Not sure it's serving him too well. Maybe he only just got a pass on those. Would be interesting to know if any specific area and time period in history.

Todd getting luckier day by day.
Who next ?
May be this is his year, aye.

I wonder if National expecting another Eminem copyright violation in the press soon. Looking like its changed it theme song from "Loose yourself" to "Cleaning out its closet".

The Real Shadies are certainly standing up.

10
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It's been a slow change but I'd look back and salute Nicky Hagar for standing up and getting everything from personal abuse to use of the police in harassing him leading to this sort of behavior being a political negative rather than positive.
I was going to write some dripping sarcasm but really he just deserves acknowledgement.

Current National MPs and people like Boag are misreading the public mood atrociously.
This is Nationals dirty politics tactics from Key and Crusher's era with Whaleoil firing the smears.
Boag seems to have stepped in to help with no Whaleoil on the scene.
Muller is too scared of his MPs to change the toxic culture.
Labour with 3rd term Clark had it's moments.

Labour is having moments in their current term, their MPs seem to get rewarded for their incompetence or dog-whistling.

Walker is gone, Boag has quit, what more would you like National to do here.

Lose the dirty politics.
Actually Woodhouse ought to resign.

11
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Man oh man, this woman! It's been a looooong time coming. I just can't wait to see criminal proceedings.

Anyone else think it's rather 'convenient' that all this **** has exploded whilst Parliament is in recess?

No.

She's been the spinner for years ...I've seen "Designated Survivor" .. Donald will be looking for a new spinner soon when the one hes got gets the boot...

Wow, at wast a very honest resignation letter! National needs to move away from this dirt of politics for everyone's sake

When it comes to the Nat’s - Nicky Hager nailed it years ago with the title of his book!

I wonder if it was Boag that leaked all that information to Nicky Hager, before he wrote "The Hollow Men"? That pushed Key into the National Party leadership.

If you have friends like this and all that....

A bunch of dishonest nincompoops, that is what National is. Simon is laughing still.

Of course, this is not the first time that Boag has been publicly associated with issues relating to a leak of personal information.
She became involved in the 2012 ACC privacy breach when it was revealed that she had acted as support person to the woman holding the leaked ACC information. The fallout was that it was found that ACC was lacking in protection of personal information – that which appears to be at the heart of this leak.
I would have thought that from experience Boag was well aware of the issues regarding security of sensitive personal information and need for organisations to have processes to protect such information.
As to her comment today "it is time that the National Party and I parted ways", from memory, at the time of the 2012 issue it was reported that Boag claimed that she was severing ties with the National Party.

Ugh. Utterly disingenuous narcissistic self-serving codswallop from Boag. Bit of a start in cleaning up the systemic corruption in the Nats, but they've a long way to go.