A staff member from the Department of the Prime Minister has accidentally published online an embargoed list of Queen's Birthday Honours winners.
In a statement this afternoon a department spokesman said the list was published on a distribution website, which is accessible to the public.
"The list was inadvertently made briefly available on our media distribution website, but has now been removed from the site,'' the spokesman said.
APNZ understands a staff member from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet used the database website Media People NZ to send the embargoed list of honours winners to media organisations across the country this morning.
The list, which is embargoed until Monday, was accidentally published on the Media People website because an option not to post the media release online was not selected.
Media People NZ manager David Reade said it was an error made by someone inexperienced with using the database system.
He said the embargoed list was posted on the website this morning and removed this afternoon.
Mr Reade apologised for the website's role in leaking the honour winners and said he should have made it clearer to the woman who posted the list how to use the embargo system.
When contacted this afternoon by APNZ, a spokeswoman at the Department of the Prime Minister refused to comment further except to say: "The list is still under embargo and we ask all editors to respect the embargo.''