Some unwelcome publicity for National MP Chris Bishop in the Sunday Star Times this morning.
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.
Interesting that this was not reported at the time which was before the last election. These sort of issues can spiral out of control. I can imagine that right now at National HQ there are a few worried people.
This is what Bishop has said about the article on his Facebook page:
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.
The comment is fair enough. But he should say this directly to the media rather than claim some sort of martyrdom.