The National Party is in turmoil just 67 days before the general election after leader Todd Muller's shock resignation.

The party has been consumed by scandal over the leaking of Covid patients' private details a fortnight ago.

Muller's integrity came into question last week when he was repeatedly questioned about whether the party's health spokesman Michael Woodhouse had received any confidential information from former party president Michelle Boag.

Muller replied that Woodhouse hadn't when he knew that he had.


He later said that he thought he was being asked about whether it was the same information that was given to Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker and he had been "transparent".

He then said he could have been clearer with his answers.

A week of questions over Muller's handling of the leak scandal

July 2

• Evening: National MP Hamish Walker sends the Herald a list containing names, dates of birth and isolation facilities of then 18 active current Covid-19 cases, to use as evidence he was right in saying cases were coming from India, Pakistan and Korea but does not reveal the source.

July 4

• Weekend Herald reveals there has been a privacy breach in that it has been sent details of current Covid cases without revealing who or why it was sent. Two other media outlets reveal they have been sent the same information. None publishes the info.

• Health Minister says there will be an inquiry.

• National's health spokesman Michael Woodhouse recognises the description of the information similar to info sent to him by party stalwart Michelle Boag in four emails between June 21 and 25.


• Woodhouse texts Boag to say he had not sent his info to the media. Boag says she knows because the info is different . The number of active cases Woodhouse was sent in June was lower than the 18 active cases Walker was sent but Boag does not tell him it was Walker.

• National leader Todd Muller and Woodhouse strongly criticise the Government for the privacy breach.

July 6

• Lunchtime: Walker contacts Muller privately to confess to having forwarded Covid-19 patient information to the media.

• 3pm: Govt announces independent inquiry to be led by ex-Solicitor General Michael Heron, QC.

July 7


• Muller spends day in Dunedin with Woodhouse.

• Walker issues statement about 5.30pm admitting he sent the patient details to media but says it was to expose the Government's shortcomings at keeping data.

• Boag issues statement moments later admitting she sent the patient details to Walker. Resigns as Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust CEO, in which capacity she got the data from the Ministry of Health.

• Muller issues statement saying it was an error of judgment by Walker, that he has lost his spokesmanships, that he must co-operate with the inquiry and that he, Muller, will not be commenting further until the inquiry is over. Resignation is not mentioned.

• Woodhouse tells Muller he, too, has received similar information from Boag in June but did not do anything with it.

• Woodhouse deletes the Boag emails.


July 8

• Muller says he is angry with Walker and has referred the matter to National's board of directors.

• Walker announces retirement from politics before board deselects him.

• Woodhouse contacts Heron to say he was sent similar information to Walker from Boag.

July 9

• Muller has standup after speech and rejects a suggestion multiple times Woodhouse might have received similar information from Boag.


July 10

• Woodhouse publicly says he received patient information from Boag on four occasions between June 21 and 25 but did not do anything with it or tell anyone about it.

• Boag resigns from the National Party.

• Muller denies having made misleading statement the day before regarding Michael Woodhouse. "From my perspective, we have been well-managed and transparent about it."

July 14

• Muller resigns as leader of the National Party.


Todd Muller media standup, Thursday, July 9, Christchurch

Media: Have you sought assurances from your MPs that they knew nothing about data either held by Hamish Walker or Michelle Boag?

Muller: No, look that issue is sorted from my perspective. Obviously Hamish has made his decision and an inquiry is following up with Michelle Boag and as you saw she has made it clear publicly that her only interaction was with Hamish and no doubt that will get confirmed to the process with Michael Heron, QC.

Media: So Michelle Boag has never mentioned or offered this data to you or to any other National MP?

Muller: Look from my perspective I am just going to repeat from my perspective that issue is concluded. She has made it very clear there was a contact with Hamish. I have made it very clear my view of that. Hamish has paid an extraordinary price for passing that information on. And now of course, Michael Heron will have his conversations with those two people...

Media: Was Michelle Boag a source for Michael Woodhouse? Have you spoken to him?
Muller: No. Look, again, I don't really understand where you are going with this. We've had a situation over the last 48 hours. It is very clear that I think it was totally inappropriate what occurred and Hamish Walker has now paid the price in terms of a political career and Michelle Boag has resigned from all roles in the National Party and has confirmed publicly that she has had a single engagement with Hamish Walker over it and now is co-operating and is working through with Michael Heron so from my perspective that is the issue ...

Media: I just want to get clarity about what exactly you have said to MPs about that privacy leak. So have you checked with Woodhouse specifically whether he received that same information from Boag?


Muller: Ah no.

Media: Why not?

Muller: Well because it's very clear from our perspective that there is a conversation that has occurred or a connection that's occurred between Michelle Boag and Hamish Walker.

Media: So you don't know whether other MPs in your party have access to that information because you haven't checked. Is that accurate?

Muller: No, we've got a scenario here where from our perspective we are confident that from what we can see that the issue here relates to Michelle Boag and Hamish Walker.

Media: What gives you that confidence because you've just said you haven't checked.

Muller: Yeah but from our perspective, the issue is what was done with the information and clearly it was an issue from our perspective that was unacceptable and you've heard very clearly from the participants that the issue was between Michelle Boag and Hamish Walker.