Questions asked of Chris Bishop’s social media engagement

Eyebrows have been raised and questions asked of up and coming MP Chris Bishop. Bishop became a National list MP in 2014, and then won the Hutt South seat Trevor Mallard left last year (Mallard moved to the list).

Stuff:  National MP confronted about his social media messages to teenagers

National’s Hutt South MP Chris Bishop was confronted before last year’s election by a mother upset at the older man messaging her daughter and other minors.

Witnesses said Bishop was taken aside and asked to stop what he was doing.

“I wanted to confront him as many parents felt very uncomfortable that their children were messaged,” said a mother who wanted to remain anonymous.

“He admitted it straight away and thanked me for bringing it to his attention.”

Another mother, whose 13-year-old daughter was allegedly in daily contact with Bishop for a week or two on Snapchat, took to Facebook to vent her frustration.

The mother, who also wanted to remain anonymous, allegedly wrote to MP Paul Goldsmith to complain about Bishop’s behaviour.

None of the parents were concerned that Bishop’s intentions were anything other than misguided.

No indication has been given as to why this has been raised now, five or more months later.

The Internet has long been promoted as a way for politicians to engage with the public, but it has it’s risks. Bishop is far from the first MP to get caught in the online minefield. He is young and has been using social media since becoming an MP (before that too no doubt).

The story has prompted some fairly brutal reactions. Te Reo Putake: Bishop’s Head Pawn Push

I hope that isn’t a dirty attempt at word play.

National MP Chris Bishop has been using Snapchat to communicate with schoolgirls. Just let that sink in for a moment … a grown man in a position of power and authority trying to be down with the kids. It’s beyond sad, it’s downright creepy.

Perverts like Snapchat because its point of difference with other social media is that it is designed to be impermanent. No nasty traces of criminal behaviour left behind to be used as evidence in court.

So, is Chris Bishop a perve?

I don’t know, but I think we should be told.

TRP should know about the dangers of speculation on the worst possibility without any evidence of it.

Bishop should immediately release what copies he does have of the conversations, redacted to protect the identities of the young people. Let’s not call them victims yet, until we know the facts.

I look forward to reading the posts and comments on Whaleoil and Kiwiblog calling for Bishop to be sacked and prosecuted, as was the case with a young Labour MP accused of inappropriate behaviour a few years ago. Should I hold my breath?

Is there any comparison? Without knowing who TRP is referring to and without knowing exactly what Bishop had done on Snapchat it’s impossible to know.

The most curious aspect of this weird case of clearly inappropriate behaviour is that Bishop comes to Parliament via a career in drug dealing, just like disgraced Clutha Southland MP Todd Barclay. What is it about the Tobacco/National/Disgrace sequence that top Tories can’t work out?

I really don’t like tobacco, or tobacco companies, and I can’t understand why anyone would preface a political career working for one, but Bishop should be judged by his record as an MP, which has been generally quite promising as far as I’ve seen.

Let me make it simple for Bill English (or whoever is sharpening the knives): if you source your MP’s from the tobacco industry you are picking people with the morals and ethics of the lowest of the low. Don’t feign surprise when they turn out to be wrong ‘uns.

Bishop should explain himself or resign. Maybe both.

In chess, the Bishop is often strategically sacrificed. This might be National’s best move with the weirdo MP for Hutt South.

Why? TRP has cast some fairly dirty aspersions if he is nowhere near the mark. Perhaps he can explain.

Bishop has tried to explain (on social media, Facebook):

There is a pretty upsetting story about me in the Sunday Star Times this morning (I won’t link to it).

Since being elected in 2014 I have placed a real priority on engaging with young people and supporting youth, particularly in the Hutt Valley. As one of the younger MPs in the Parliament I see this as an important part of my job. I have enjoyed being involved in things like setting up the Hutt City Youth Awards and Student Leaders’ events, and supporting the Young Enterprise Scheme, to name a few. During 2017 I spoke to many young people at schools and other events about the importance of voting and our democracy.

As many will know, I am very active on social media and I have corresponded directly with thousands of constituents through various platforms. My intention in being accessible on social media is to help me be an effective MP and it has proven a good way of engaging directly with constituents including young New Zealanders who generally aren’t that engaged in the political process.

In mid-2017 it was suggested to me that I open a Snapchat account, which I did. This proved very popular and lots of people sent me messages through it. I got into the spirit of things and would often reply to messages sent to me. Most messages were of support from people in Lower Hutt, including young people, for me/National.

However, after a few weeks I heard third hand that some parents were unsure about their kids communicating with MPs on social media. I adopted a policy of having a “Story Only” account and only having SnapChat friends that I knew personally.

Every election the media write stories about how young people don’t vote, don’t see any reason to vote, and how politicians are out of touch. I’ve set out to change that. It would be sad if politicians were put off engaging with young people because of stories like this.

Not surprisingly Bishop is trying to play it down. It may have been little, ended by prudent changes in online habits. But it does deserve more of an explanation, or it will leave Bishop open to more TRP type attacks.

Leave a comment

37 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  February 11, 2018

    I’d give Bishop the benefit of the doubt..on this one.

    Reply
  2. Alloytoo

     /  February 11, 2018

    Hit job, squirrel, call it what you will. It seems pretty clear that chris was attempting to engage his electorate, some of whom complained, resulting in a change of his behaviour.

    Why this is news now, is anyones guess, though I suppect the COL is engaging in their normal dirty politics

    Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  February 11, 2018

    PC Rulebook 2018

    Rule #1: Do not communicate with any female.
    Rule #2: Do not communicate with any minor
    Rule #3: Do not communicate with any employee or client or student

    Reply
  4. David

     /  February 11, 2018

    Without seeing the messages its appalling partisan behaviour from a tabloid paper. Bishop could literally have been pushing a National party line and the parent could have been a staunch Green/Labour person.
    Who knows because it is yet another half story with no context but its a National MPs reputation shredded so who cares. No wonder their circulation is tanking.

    Reply
    • lurcher1948

       /  February 11, 2018

      Get over it David,would you like a shonky National MP chatting your daughter up??? if you had one?

      Reply
      • David

         /  February 11, 2018

        Lurcher you encapsulate the whole problem with rubbish journalism, because he is National you immediately assume from the innuendo that he was chatting her up, he could have just been explaining to a young person some civic knowledge. I would suggest if there was something inappropriate the outraged parents would have gone to the coppers or the paper would have published something but they havent. Its a partisan hit job and a little lower than what you would get out of whaleoil.
        I have a daughter and if she was 13 being chatted up on snapchat I would be off to the coppers not to the newspapers annonymously 6 months later.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  February 11, 2018

          If any MP was daft enough to actually chat up teenyboppers, they would deserve to be ridiculed. I don’t suppose that they’d be breaking any law unless they solicited sex, but I would take a lot of convincing that there was anything untoward about these conversations. It does seem horribly like a smear campaign, someone making a lot out of a very little.

          If it was a female Labour MP on Snapchat with teenage boys, would the dirty-minded assume that she was a pervert ?

          Reply
      • “shonky National MP chatting your daughter up??” Who said this? You is who and you’re quite explicit, no implication – an accusation. There is no question any social media engagement was entirely election based, even the parents said so.

        How disgusting to suggest otherwise, I’d go as far to say defamatory

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  February 11, 2018

          ‘defamatory’…the in vogue accusation currently popular here on YNZ with the bitter and the …disappointed.

          Reply
    • Gezza

       /  February 11, 2018

      Certainly seems like Snapchat’s not a good way to communicate with anybody other than close friends if you’re in a position of power or politics. This sort of hit job could just as easily happen to any MP these days. Nasties abound.

      Reply
  5. Corky

     /  February 11, 2018

    ”if you source your MP’s from the tobacco industry you are picking people with the morals and ethics of the lowest of the low.”

    Really, how does that work?

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  February 11, 2018

      apparently tobacco…kills people…surprised you hadn’t…heard.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  February 11, 2018

        How did this chap force idiots to smoke after the evidence is clear: smoking is bad for your health?

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  February 11, 2018

          well as a tobacco coy lobbyist ,his job was to keep peddling the death sentence of smoking….its about profits for multi nationals…death is just ..collateral..damage.

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  February 11, 2018

            It’s about fuckwits who cant say ”NO”. I was one for nearly 25 years. It stuffed my health up. The difference is I don’t blame anybody but myself.

            When are we going to start on the booze barons?

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  February 11, 2018

              well eating too many raspberry buns can be bad for your health..too.
              Krispy Kreme is opening soon in…Manakau.

            • Corky

               /  February 11, 2018

              Beats lard and white bread.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  February 11, 2018

              Lard, possibly. Who would eat something called Krispy Kreme ? It even sounds revolting.

              White bread can be healthy and it would have to be better than the KKs which look like sugar-coated fat embellished with more fat.

  6. Trevors_Elbow

     /  February 11, 2018

    Labour or Greens hit job – probably Labour given the electorate Chris Bishop represents.

    Jacques Steenkamp is now a “reporter” who anyone on the Centre-Right of politics should handle with a stick to keep him at arms length. The way that article is written – the first impression is very nasty, only at the end does it concede no one thinks anything untoward was intended or happened.

    Dirty politics raises its head again it seems on the surface

    And why? Because Chris Bishop out campaigned Labour in a Labour stronghold and won the electoral seat.

    Is he seen as a potential National Leader and does that scare Labour or the Greens?

    A Bishop/Kaye leadership pair would be pretty appealing in my view – and they both have something in common: beating Labour at the ground game in their electorates….

    No surprises to see TRP peddling dirt. If he has any, any evidence of wrong doing he should head to the nearest Police Station and lay a complaint. Not holding my breathe one little bit…

    Reply
  7. Trevors_Elbow

     /  February 11, 2018

    I see the Standard is very muted on this – posted a piece at 2:51pm today but no comments and the piece is very tame

    Reply
  8. duperez

     /  February 11, 2018

    “Bishop should be judged by his record as an MP.” The same for all MPs? While they are MPs or from the time they were born?

    Reply
  9. That’s a big accusation suggesting it was an internal National Party hit job.

    Hooton also posted that comments at Kiwiblog and it has not been very popular.
    https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2018/02/anonymous_innuendo.html#comment-2135146

    Reply
    • Trevors_Elbow

       /  February 11, 2018

      Hooton has a large, large axe to grind against English and the senior national team. He lost a contract 2-3 years ago and it seems it still burns inside him….

      Reply
    • duperez

       /  February 11, 2018

      I love it. An MP not replying to mail is crime of the century but being a dishonest liar is not so bad, not worth a mention or disdain and excommunication.

      Reply
  10. lurcher1948

     /  February 11, 2018

    Hell the right are involved in all the shit ruining New Zealand SAD REALLY

    Reply
  11. I don’t know what sort of contact Bishop actually had (and it seems that few people do despite all the conclusion jumping), but if he was just engaging on political issues what is the difference between than and parties and teachers promoting politics to pupils. I’ve seen examples of children younger than 13 being engaged in politics.

    Reply
  12. duperez

     /  February 11, 2018

    The best thing written about this little episode is from David Farrar.

    “The headline and story are designed to make you think the worst, and buried deep down you find the statement “None of the parents were concerned that Bishop’s intentions were anything other than misguided.”

    That is exactly Farrar’s own modus operandi. Most often a clear explanation and evidence that the worst inferences are wrong are not buried deep down, they’re elsewhere, in the complete article he’s taken bits from, sometimes linked usually not.

    Naturally the avid supporters on there are going crazy about such scumbag tactics being used and condemning Hooton. It might be a colourful analogy, (or odiferous anyway), but it’s like turds floating in the sewer complaining about a newcomer arriving and smelling the place out.

    Reply
  1. Questions asked of Chris Bishop’s social media engagement — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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