National leader Christopher Luxon says a social media post that suggested he was in Te Puke when he was holidaying in Hawaii was a genuine mistake.
Luxon was in Hawaii last week, despite posting a social media video in which he stated, “today, I’m in Te Puke, the heart of kiwifruit country”. He was on leave last week while Parliament was on a three-week recess.
Luxon said he didn’t intend for the post to make it look as if he was in Te Puke when he was in Hawaii.
He said it was “well-known” by the media that he was overseas.
“We posted a video – we should have captioned it differently to make clear it was in recent days, not on the day.”
Luxon said he didn’t publish the posts himself, but took responsibility for it.
“We genuinely made a mistake and we own up to it, we front it.”
He also defended his decision to go on holiday with his family given the “pretty intense job” of an Opposition leader.
Luxon had been in Te Puke the previous week on July 14 and had made himself available to speak to media that day. He had hosted media conferences throughout the middle week of recess, with the last scheduled on Sunday July 17.
Prior to that, he was on a work trip to Singapore and the UK.
He said he did not think the social media post was misleading.
“The reality was my social media team release what I’m up to over a given week, but the reality is for me is that I’m here in the middle week of recess working really hard as I was up and down the country, and the week before overseas in Ireland, UK and Singapore,” Luxon said.
Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said all politicians needed a break and could go wherever they wanted on holiday. But, he said it was important to be upfront about it to the public.
“I think a post that says you’re in Te Puke on a particular day published on a day when you’re actually in Hawaii is misleading.”
Labour’s Willie Jackson hadn’t seen Luxon’s social media posts.
“I’m surprised to hear about that,” Jackson said when told about what had happened.
“It doesn’t seem to be in his character… He’s generally a pretty honest sort of bloke.”
Posts had gone up on Luxon’s Facebook page over two days last week around his trip to Te Puke.
He said he did not stay with former Prime Minister John Key, who has a house in Hawaii.