Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has apologised to Parliament’s health select committee for providing them incorrect information.
On Wednesday, he told MPs he had not personally discussed the case of a United Nations worker from Fiji who was seriously ill with Covid-19 with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
But, in a letter to the committee chair Labour MP Liz Craig, Bloomfield said he did exchange text messages with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade Chris Seed about the matter.
An application for the worker to travel to New Zealand for medical treatment was approved last week after being refused initially because of “capacity” issues.
The worker remains in intensive care in Middlemore Hospital.
In the letter to Craig correcting his statement, Bloomfield provided the content of the texts and the time they were sent.
On 28 July, Seed texted Bloomfield about the UN worker, providing an update on where discussions were at and asking if there was anything more his officials needed to do.
Bloomfield responded, saying health officials were “all over it” and said he thought there would be a resolution.
A short time later, Bloomfield sent another text saying it was “all sorted”.
In the letter to the select committee, Bloomfield said he did not recall the specific exchange when he was responding to questions.
He said he frequently exchanged texts with Seed and other public sector chief executives.
Bloomfield said it was not until the day after his appearance before the select committee that he realised the text exchange was relevant to the questions asked.
He apologised for initially omitting his recollection of the exchange, and assured the committee it was not his intention to mislead them.