Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern still has confidence in COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins after he released personal information about journalist Charlotte Bellis despite official advice not to. …
Revelations on Thursday show foreign affairs officials sent details of Bellis’s consular assistance to the Foreign Minister under the ‘no surprises’ policy because there’d been “extensive media attention”.
This was then passed to Hipkins with a note saying all personal information was “not for public comment”.
“Let’s be very clear why he did that – he did that to attack her because he felt under attack by her,” National’s COVID-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop said.
The Prime Minister still has confidence in Hipkins.
“I do have confidence in our minister in the fact that he at all times was working to best ensure that in a really difficult environment that all those who needed to access MIQ were able to do so,” she said on Thursday.
Bellis’ lawyer Tudor Clee wants an apology from Hipkins.
“He owes an apology not just for breaching her privacy but ultimately the information wasn’t even true.”
So MFAT explicitly said the information was not for public comment, but Hipkins went and used it exactly for public comment.