Boag keeps eagle eye on ACC story

MICHELLE COOKE
Last updated 10:04 13/06/2012
TV3

Patrick Gower 3 News live cross with Michelle Boag in background.

Patrick Gower 3 News live cross with Michelle Boag in background
PEEPING AND HIDING: Patrick Gower 3 News live cross with Michelle Boag in background.

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What was Michelle Boag doing?

That's the question most people who watched TV3 News last night were pondering, confused by Boag's lurking appearance in political reporter Patrick Gower's piece to camera.

Gower was reporting live on the ACC scandal - in which Boag played a central role as the support person of whistleblower Bronwyn Pullar - on the 6pm bulletin from Parliament.

While Gower was discussing the "culture change" ACC Minister Judith Collins has proposed for the organisation, Boag was in the background standing on the staircase, behind a column, waving to people who walked past.

She was there, then she wasn't, then she peeked out in front of the pole once again.

Gower, on Twitter, called it "one of the truly great lurking incidents on the Parliamentary precinct".

Turns out neither Boag nor Gower knew she was on camera - Boag only found out later in the evening when her husband asked her what she was doing.

"I happened to be walking down the stairs and I saw Paddy was about to go on and I wasn't going to have the chance to watch what he said so I just hung around to listen," she said.

"It was that simple."

Gower also discussed how Boag and Bronwyn Pullar were still seeking an apology from ACC.

Boag has been Pullar's support person and is a former National party president.

The video is being shared on Facebook, and comments and photos are being exchanged on Twitter.

A UK-based journalist with the same name - Patrick Gower - said he'd received "a slightly unnerving set of tweets about a woman behind me".

"Michelle Boag lurking behind me during live cross ... Is that taking spin-doctoring to an all new level...?" the real Gower tweeted.

He later posted that at least Boag, a PR specialist, was just lurking behind him "and not eye-balling me like she was Judith Collins".

Pullar was sent more than 6000 files relating to sensitive claims via email last year and met with ACC senior management in December to discuss the privacy breach.

Michelle Boag was her support person at the meeting.

ACC alleged that at a meeting with Pullar in December she alerted ACC to the massive breach and threatened to withhold details of the breach and go to the media if she was not given a guaranteed benefit for two years.

Police investigated the extortion allegation but said they would not charge Pullar.

The alleged threat was not found on a recording of the meeting.

The scandal has led to the resignation of former ACC Minister Nick Smith and current ACC Minister Judith Collins laying a complaint against Labour MPs Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little for defamation.

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ACC apologised for the privacy breach and now its chairman John Judge has resigned and his deputy and another director will also be replaced.

- Stuff

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