, Political Reporter
National's leader Simon Bridges won't be disciplining one of his MPs for calling on the Prime Minister to denounce a
story about child sexual abuse - even though it turned out to be fake.
Simon Bridges and Judith Collins Photo: RNZ
Judith Collins tweeted the story from a website known to be a purveyor of fake news yesterday, and was quickly called
out on it.
willing to denounce this legislation of child sexual abuse? https://t.co/6YMlJiO8zr
— Judith Collins (@JudithCollinsMP) August 6, 2018
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But Mr Bridges isn't going to reprimand her, saying everyone's prone to a social media controversy, including himself.
"I've liked things before, actually genuinely accidentally. I think when you're scrolling through things, you know
that's created it's own little controversy."
That's what Mr Bridges is calling Ms Collins' sharing of an article off a fake news website: an accident.
The website she's shared is known for pushing Russian narrative propaganda, according to one Twitter user, and was
apparently involved in Brexit and US election interference.
It's also known for conspiracy theories regarding pop stars, 'revealing' Katy Perry as a cannibal and Justin Bieber as a
Another Twitter user pointed Ms Collins to an article on the same website reporting a "real life vampire outbreak" in New Zealand.
Others asked whether the Prime Minister should also be denouncing the sinister alliance of the Loch Ness Monster and
But despite the faux pas, Mr Bridges does not believe guidelines around fake news are necessary and will not be
enforcing them on his party caucus.
"I don't know if I would particularly set down rules or expectations about this," he said.
"I think in this case Judith Collins feels strongly about the issue, that's legitimate. But it is a wrong source, she
acknowledges that, and we should in general try and get them right."
The story Ms Collins shared is based on a real news story. France is passing legislation that will make it easier to
prosecute crimes of sexual violence against minors.
When asked whether she'd be denouncing anything on day one back from maternity leave, the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
was much more careful.
"There is a lot of fake news out there, and I want to make sure that I'm well-versed before I respond to anything like
Ms Collins didn't respond to RNZ's requests for comment on her tweet.