Boag rides to oblivion | The Jackal

9 Jul 2020

Boag rides to oblivion

Former National Party President - Michelle Boag
After the complete botch job Hamish Walker made of leaking the private details of COVID-19 patients to the mainstream media last week, the best-case scenario for Todd Muller and the National Party would be if the news cycle went quiet about their involvement.

But unfortunately for the right wing that’s never going to happen.

Not only is the egregious breach of privacy a major news story both nationally and internationally that simply cannot be ignored, most of the apologists for the right wing who would normally try to defend National at all costs have now given up. Some have even started to grumble about just how bad the breach of privacy and its fallout is, and who else might be implicated in the damaging scandal.

But instead of keeping quiet, the source of the leak, Michelle Boag, just keeps on digging. Incredibly, the former National Party President is now attempting to spin the privacy breach as some sort of failure on the part of the Ministry of Health.

Of course it’s a completely ludicrous argument. Boag was the CEO of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter trust when she received the private information in good faith, information she had no moral or legal right to forward on to the National Party. Furthermore, Boag initially claimed that the data was accessed through her role as CEO of the trust, which caused many to question the extent of their involvement.

The Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust have subsequently investigated their processes and found that Boag’s account of events is lacking in a crucial component, namely the truth.

Yesterday, Stuff reported:

Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust says Michelle Boag had no access to its Covid-19 patient data 
The Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust says it did not breach the privacy of Covid-19 patients, despite National Party stalwart Michelle Boag claiming she received the now-leaked data as acting chief executive of the trust. 
Helicopter Trust chairman Simon Tompkins, in statement issued Wednesday morning, said the trust had reviewed how it protects patient information and “that none of this patient information has been subject to any privacy breach”.

So Michelle Boag initially linked the privacy breach to a trust she was acting CEO of, and is now trying to divert responsibility for the leak onto the Ministry of Health. It seems that everyone is to blame here except for the leaker herself.

Here’s Michelle Boag's statement from last Tuesday:

Press Statement From Michelle Boag 
Today I am announcing that I am the person who passed on details of current Covid19 cases to Clutha Southland MP Hamish Walker, who then passed on that information to a number of media outlets. 
The information was made available to me in my position as then Acting CEO of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, although it was sent to my private email address. 
This was a massive error of judgement on my part and I apologise to my colleagues at ARHT whom I have let down badly.

National Party leader -Todd Muller
The exact details of how and when the COVID-19 patient's data was leaked to National aren’t the only questions that remain unanswered in this privacy breach debacle.

For instance, after Hamish Walker made his racist press release on 2 July, he then boasted about being in possession of information that supposedly backed up his claims. Thankfully some media outlets, as well as deciding not to use the leaked data, have now publicly contradicted Walker’s statement concerning what the information contained.

But the real kicker here is that after Walker shot himself in the foot, Muller claimed that he didn’t find out about a National MP making an arse of himself in public for another four days. Surely Walker boasting that he was (wrongly) in possession of people’s private information should have gained the attention of a competent leader in much less time?

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

Muller told Newstalk ZB's Mike Yardley that he was informed Monday lunchtime that Walker was the leaker and after the inquiry was announced, made it clear Walker had to co-operate. 
He then sought legal advice and once receiving that, made it public.

Clearly Muller’s timeline of events isn’t very credible.

It seems much more likely that he knew about Boag’s leaking ages ago and decided to use the confidential information she provided to the National Party to maliciously try and damage the Government's credibility on COVID-19 related issues.

Sadly for the blue "team" however, Walker’s public outburst meant National and their number one stalwart, knowing they would be found out, had to come clean.

While continuing to viciously attack the Government over a breach of information they themselves instigated, it appears that the National Party generously gave themselves an entire week to deliberate and decide about how best to front foot the issue.

That’s likely what we’re seeing right now, the right wing in damage control mode and trying to spin the leak in their favour. But unfortunately for Todd Muller’s credibility, the execution of that spin by Michelle Boag and other right wing propagandists isn’t going so well. In fact it’s another complete train wreck of a political disaster for the beleaguered National Party. Let's hope they all get obliterated at the 2020 election.