The Privacy Commissioner says he was “gobsmacked” to hear it was a National MP who leaked Covid-19 patient details to the media and his actions are “misguided” and “unforgiveable”.
Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker said the details were "given to me by a source", which former National Party president Michelle Boag later admitted was her.
She says she received the information while in the position of acting chief executive of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust.
Privacy Commissioner John Edwards told 1 NEWS the whole situation “beggars belief”.
“It’s hard to overstate the seriousness of this. This is very sensitive health information. People are entitled to receive health services without judgement, without their personal information being distributed widely, and not to be used as kind of political football,” he said.
He went on to say that if someone had a genuine privacy concern there were a number of other channels to complain to.
“To send sensitive health information to a number of news outlets is really, at the low end, misguided but it’s really quite unforgiveable.
"In the harm it can do to those individuals but also the harm it can do to undermining trust in the system,” Mr Edwards said.
John Edwards described the actions as indefensible and says the Privacy Commissioner’s office may investigate.
National leader Todd Muller told Breakfast today he didn't want Mr Walker running as a candidate at the upcoming election, and that Ms Boag should step aside from the party as well.