National MP leaked COVID case details to media
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.