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Covid-19 privacy breach investigation will be 'quick', says Chris Hipkins

The investigation into the Covid-19 cases privacy breach is due to the end of the month, with new Health Minister Chris Hipkins "determined to find out how it happened". 

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The details of 18 active coronavirus cases were leaked to media last week. Source: 1 NEWS

Names, addresses, ages and hotel names were of people who tested positive for Covid-19 were leaked to some media outlets last week. 

"New Zealanders have an absolute right to expect their personal information will be held and handled in the strictest of confidence," Mr Hipkins told media today.

"The public release of this information is wrong. I'm determined to find out how it happened, why it happened and ensure systems are put in place to prevent it from happening in the future"

Mr Hipkins had asked the State Service Commissioner to investigate the Covid-19 active case privacy breach, with Michael Heron QC appointed to undertake the investigation. 

"I expect his investigation to be quick, reporting back by the end of this month," Mr Hipkins said. 

Mr Heron will have the power to summon witnesses, ask for documents and question under oath. 

"The investigation will look at who or what caused the disclosure of the information, identifying what, if anything, could have prevented this from happening and any improvements to prevent it from happening in the future," Mr Hipkins said. 

He said there were a number of theories as to how the information was released, but he would not provide details.