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National MP leaked COVID case details to media

National MP Hamish Walker. Image: Rebekah Parsons-King/RNZ.

A National MP has come forward saying he passed on information about active COVID-19 patients to the media.

Hamish Walker MP for Clutha-Southland says the information he emailed to media had been given to him by a source and he passed on the information to expose the government’s shortcomings.

The details of 18 people with active cases of COVID-19 was sent to media outlets and an inquiry has been launched to discover the cause.

“It was never intended that the personal details would be made public, and they have not been, either by me or the persons I forwarded them to,” says Walker.

“The information that I received was not password protected by the Government. It was not stored on a secure system where authorised people needed to log on. There was no redaction to protect patient details, and no confidentiality statement on the document.

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

“I made serious allegations against the Government’s COVID-19 response and passed on this information to prove those allegations.

“Private health information does not have basic safeguards in place and the Government needs to immediately change its protocols and store the information on a secure, safe network that at a minimum requires a password.

"I have received legal advice that I have not committed any criminal offence."

Walker has sincerely apologised and says he will be fully cooperating with the Michael Heron QC inquiry.

National Party leader Todd Muller says he has expressed to Walker that forwarding on this information was an error of judgement.

“While I wait for the result of the inquiry I have transferred his Forestry, Land Information and Associate Tourism portfolio responsibilities to Ian McKelvie,” says Muller.

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6 Comments
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You have to wonder...

Posted on 08-07-2020 12:29 | By morepork

... at the kind of person who thinks it is OK to do this. Is Political point scoring SO important that the end justifies the means? I give him credit for coming foward (after being assured by lawyers he has not broken the Law) but I wouldn’t want anybody with those values on my team or representing me as an MP.

National Dirty Politics

Posted on 08-07-2020 06:06 | By 2up

The government is working hard to keep NZ safe. But here we have a party that has no morals or discipline from the top down. What a disgraceful act !

What a disgrace!

Posted on 07-07-2020 23:11 | By Ben Dover

Lets hope that this idiot is fully investigated and charged if any offence is disclosed! Not fit to be an MP.

got to go

Posted on 07-07-2020 20:17 | By

come on Muller have you any guts he has to go, like a few others around you, you were calling for Arden to sack the health minister, it is the worst i have seen national in, you will never get back to running this country with what you have ended up with a lot of goon’s

Really

Posted on 07-07-2020 19:21 | By Merlin

Really an error of judgement? sending it to 3 media outlets and an Ex President of the National Party involved I say rubbish and after a so far unsubstantiated homeless man saga as well makes me wonder are we back to this type of politics.National does not need this after all their previous history of the Barclay and Jamie Ross affairs and 6 Minister’s or MP’s reprimanded or loosing their portfolios during their terms of Government.Yet they talk of the competence of this Government.

Reprehensible

Posted on 07-07-2020 18:22 | By Kancho

Political point scoring at its most blatant. If there was any concerns to be addressed there are proper channels to go through. It’s dispicable to release private information. There should be charges laid. Mistakes maybe made but releasing this information the cure is worse