17 Jun 2020

Woodhouse alleges women with Covid-19 asked for directions

4:54 pm on 17 June 2020

National MP Michael Woodhouse has dropped a bombshell allegation in Parliament that the two women granted compassionate leave to drive from Auckland to Wellington stopped for directions, casting doubt on the official story.

Michael Woodhouse

National Party health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The two women - who had flown in from the United Kingdom - were granted compassionate leave to drive from Auckland to Wellington without first being tested for Covid-19.

Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield yesterday said the pair had no contact with anyone else on the drive.

But National Party health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse told Parliament a "reliable but confidential source" had informed him that story was "not all as it seems".

"They did become disorientated and lost their way coming out of Auckland and needed help to get on the right road," Woodhouse said.

"They called on acquaintances who they were in close contact with and that was rewarded with even more close contact - a kiss and a cuddle."

The source also told him the women had borrowed the car, raising the question of whether there was further undisclosed contact.

Woodhouse did not provide evidence of his claim.

Watch Woodhouse's question to the Minister at question time in the House:

Responding in Parliament, Health Minister David Clark said he had seen "no evidence" of the claims and would be "deeply concerned" if they were true.

"I have been assured that there was no contact along the way... if the member has actually heard that and not passed it on, that would be very deeply concerning."

Woodhouse later addressed reporters outside the debating chamber and called on the Government to launch an investigation into the claims.

"I'm asking the Director General and the Minister to dive deeper into the advice they're being given about the contact," he said.

"Frankly a drive, depending on the vehicle, from Auckland to Wellington, with no comfort stops, with no petrol fill-ups, is simply implausible.

"That needs to be examined in closer detail."

Woodhouse would not reveal his source, but said they were "very closely connected" to the case.

"I'm confident that the details I've been given are accurate."

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters later told reporters Woodhouse needed to front up with evidence or apologise to the two women.

"He owed the facts today," Peters said. "He's playing petty politics."

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