Woodhouse admits receiving patient details from Boag

National MP Michael Woodhouse. Photo: Getty
National MP Michael Woodhouse. Photo: Getty Images
Dunedin-based list MP and National Party Health spokesman Michael Woodhouse has admitted receiving patient details from former party president Michelle Boag.

Woodhouse said he did not pass on the private details and had since deleted them.

He said the information was not the same as what Boag released to Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker, who announced he was standing down this week after passing on the information to media.

Boag has this morning announced she has quit the party following the revelations she had also sent private information to Mr Woodhouse, saying she had developed an "unhealthy relationship" with politics.

Michelle Boag. Photo: NZ Herald
Michelle Boag. Photo: NZ Herald

In a statement he said:

"Between June 21 and 25 I received four unsolicited emails from Michelle Boag containing information that, while not the same information that is the subject of the Inquiry led by Michael Heron QC, was similar insofar as it contained patient details.

"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 have made contact with Mr Heron to provide details to him in the event that it may be relevant to his Inquiry. If he deems it to be relevant I will cooperate fully with the Inquiry.

"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."

In a statement Boag said 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."

She said since joining the National Party at 18, she had tried "sometimes way too hard" to support the party.

"The last few days have underscored for me the unhealthy relationship I have developed with politics," Boag said in a statement.

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."

Boag said had 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. I will be making no further comment at this time."

Yesterday National Party leader Todd Muller said he had not asked any of his MPs, including Woodhouse, whether they had received the information that Boag had sent Walker.

Asked why he hadn't asked Woodhouse, Muller said: "It's very clear from our perspective there's a conversation that's occurred between Michelle Boag and Hamish Walker. We are confident from what we can see that the issue here relates to Michelle Boag and Hamish Walker."

NZ Herald and ODT

 

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