A former National Party leader's press secretary, Rachel Morton, claimed Michael Woodhouse wanted to make a statement on the Covid-19 email scandal, but was prevented from doing so by the National Party leadership.

Morton, who was press secretary for Simon Bridges, made the claim in an interview with Newstalk ZB's Heather du Plessis-Allan.

When approached for comment on the claim, Woodhouse said he did not want to comment because he was looking forward, not backwards.

Both Nikki Kaye and Amy Adams did not respond to the Herald's request for comments.


Woodhouse was stripped of the health portfolio by new National Party leader Judith Collins 15 hours into her leadership.

He said he was disappointed but respected his new leader's decision.

The move comes after his role in the Michelle Boag Covid-19 email scandal, which saw MP Hamish Walker resign after he leaked details from the breach to the media.

Northland-based MP Shane Reti now holds the health portfolio.

Woodhouse did not leak the sensitive material – but Collins pointed out that he did not make it known to the Minister of Health as soon as he got it either.

"I feel the right thing for him to have done would have been to advise her [Michelle Boag] to not send him anything."

Woodhouse told Newstalk ZB's Heather du Plessis-Allan that Collins had to make a call and he respects that.

"Obviously I'm disappointed. I worked hard in that health role, I thought we were certainly making inroads into that porous management of Covid at the border, but Shane Reti was part of that, and I'm sure he'll do a great job."


He says that he did not offer his resignation.

While he no longer holds health, Woodhouse will take on the Pike River Mine Recovery portfolio and Economic Development.

He says he's a regional MP with an accounting background and he's interested in making sure our regions thrive.

"I'm looking forward to poking borax at Shane Jones for the pork he's been throwing around, and that should be fun for the next few weeks."