Collins says she will “get to the bottom of” misleading advertising

Judith Collins says she will find out who is responsible for advertising that was said to be authorised by her and has been found to be misleading by the Speaker, Trevor Mallard.

Social media campaigns that look linked to the National Party have been controversial, especially those promoted by Collins’ husband – see Collins ‘can’t control husband’ but he’s very unhelpful.

In Parliament yesterday:

PRIVILEGE

Misrepresentation—Reply to a Written Question

SPEAKER: Members, I have received a letter from the Hon Chris Hipkins raising with me a matter of privilege: the alteration and misrepresentation of a reply to a written question posted by the National Party on social media.

The content—altered reply purporting to be from the Minister of Health and is on the face of it misleading. In normal circumstances I would be inclined to find that a question of privilege is involved and refer the matter to the Privileges Committee.

The post purports to be authorised by the Leader of the Opposition, although she has assured me that she did not see it before publication.

The general manager of the New Zealand National Party has taken responsibility for it.

So this has been directly linked to the National Party.

The post involved the manufacture of fake ministerial letterhead to lend authenticity to the misrepresentation. However, the Leader of the Opposition has apologised, I have been assured that the material has been removed from social media, and in light of the impending dissolution of Parliament I do not intend to take any further action.

Newshub: Judith Collins vows to find out who created ‘misleading’ National ad with her name on it

The image, which was posted on party social media platforms, shows Hipkins replying to a written question from National Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti about testing numbers in managed isolation facilities. However, the text is on a manufactured ministerial letterhead and contains just part of Hipkins’ answer.

Collins told The AM Show on Wednesday morning that she wasn’t behind the faked letterhead – but she would find out who was. 

“Well, not me. I am going to find out today. I am going to get to the bottom of it. It’s possibly someone trying to be clever. I am particularly annoyed that it has happened. It’s not like its $11.7 million for the Green School. But it’s still not acceptable and I will sort it out today”.

The leader reiterated that she did not sign the post off, despite it saying she had done so. 

“No, I did not and I didn’t even see it. That will also be dealt with today. So, you can just imagine, it’s going to be an interesting morning”.

“We will sort it out today. I would say it is possibly an error from someone who is overly enthusiastic, but whatever, it’s not acceptable, and certainly not putting my name on things when it’s not true. I will be sorting it today. It will be sorted.”

It could have been someone in the party’s digital team, she said.

“Well, we will find out. I don’t know so I will find out. I would say it is possibly someone in the digital team. But whatever it is, we will find out. But let’s get it in perspective here. Someone has made an error and I have apologised on behalf of the National Party. I certainly didn’t know about it.” 

Collins doesn’t appear to have committed to doing anything if she finds out who is responsible.

She said yesterday she couldn’t control her husband, but she could stop him spreading around social media attacks if she stops her party creating the attack posts in the first place.