National Party MP Gerry Brownlee faced a bombardment from Minister Megan Woods today over the leak of confidential personal information of Covid-19 patients.

He tried his best to weasel out of Woods' line of firing after National's health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse admitted he too was sent the confidential information.

Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker fell on his sword earlier this week after revealing he sent media the patients' information.

National MP Gerry Brownlee. Photo / Greg Bowker
National MP Gerry Brownlee. Photo / Greg Bowker

Former party president Michelle Boag confessed to sending the information to Walker from a private email address following his statement.

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Over the weekend, Woodhouse slammed the Government over the leak - despite the fact Boag had also sent him the information.

It was only this morning that Woodhouse informed the media he had been sent the details of the Covid-19 patients. He has since deleted the emails sent by Boag.

Woodhouse claims to have advised former solicitor general Michael Heron, QC, who is heading an inquiry into the leak, he received the information.

Woods, the minister in charge of quarantine and isolation facilities, was livid on Newstalk ZB's Political Friday with Chris Lynch earlier today.

Brownlee also joined Woods on the programme and copped a tirade of abuse around Woodhouse's actions.

"Woodhouse was out at the weekend talking about how heads had to roll because of private health information - he was holding it," she said.

Brownlee responded, saying Woodhouse deleted the information and had talked to Heron because he wanted to make it clear he didn't want to use it.

"All Oppositions get stuff leaked to them and it's almost a stream of stuff," he said.

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"In the environment that we're currently in, one of our MPs acted completely inappropriately and has paid a very big price for doing that.

"[Woodhouse] went to Mike Heron and told him he had the stuff, yes he had deleted it because he didn't want anything to do with the stuff. What's wrong with that?"

The minister in charge of the quarantine and isolation facilities, Megan Woods. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The minister in charge of the quarantine and isolation facilities, Megan Woods. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Woods returned serve, taking offence at how long it took Woodhouse to delete the information and subsequently let Heron know he too received the leaked information.

"If you're getting private and confidential health information of people [with] Covid-19 amidst a global pandemic ... you've got a responsibility to do something about it," she said.

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However, Brownlee wasn't having a bar of it and defended Woodhouse for stepping forward and letting Heron know about the leaked report.

Lynch told Brownlee it needed to be looked into because he thought the statement from Woodhouse this morning was "unclean ... dirty".

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Disgraced Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Disgraced Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker. Photo / Mark Mitchell

This was because Woodhouse took aim at the Government over the leak even though he too had been sent the confidential information.

Still, Brownlee had no issues with how the National Party's health spokesperson had handled the situation.

"It looks honest. He's already been to Mike Heron to tell him about the situation, what's wrong with front-footing it?

"Megan can put all the slant on it that she likes ... [Woodhouse deleted it so] it means no one else gets it, what's wrong with that?"

Woods snapped back, saying: "On the weekend he was slamming looseness with private healthcare information, he had it sitting in his inbox if he hadn't already deleted it."

Brownlee said the situation should be left for Heron to decide what happened, adding Woodhouse contacted Heron to be open and honest with the inquiry.

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