Labour cancels photo op over 'flooded river' despite no flooding

Photo credit: Newshub.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern cancelled her planned visit to Canterbury's Selwyn River on Thursday because it was "flooding" - but problem was, it wasn't flooding at all.

She intended to use Coe's Ford to highlight the party's pledge to clean up rivers. This part of the Selwyn River is often used as an example of how farm runoff is affecting the health of waterways.

Ms Ardern's office pulled the plug on the visit, with a message to media saying: "With regret we have had to cancel the Coe's Ford media event with Jacinda Ardern, due to flooding".

However when Newshub arrived, the river wasn't flooded or flooding at all.

Photo credit: Newshub.

A Labour Party spokesman says another reason for the cancellation was because the party was told the gates to the reserve were locked. However, a local says the gates are always locked through the winter months.

There was ample parking on the side of the road and full access to the river. Cars and trucks were driving across the ford.

Labour cancels photo op over 'flooded river' despite no flooding
Photo credit: Newshub.

A number of local farmers had gathered at the site too, after hearing on the radio Ms Ardern would visit. One of them was David Birkett.

"It's a little bit disappointing. It would have been a good opportunity to talk to her about some of her policies," he says.

"Labour has made a big hoo-rah about the Selwyn River, and one of the reasons she's not here is probably because it's looking really good at the moment."

Mr Birkett claimed the water was so clean that he'd drink it. Newshub asked him to prove it, and he did.

Labour cancels photo op over 'flooded river' despite no flooding
Photo credit: Newshub.

Labour rejects Mr Birkett's claim it cancelled the visit because the river wasn't dirty enough for the photo op, instead saying it was an honest mix-up based on information from a security check of the area beforehand.

"We can only act on the advice we're given, and we were told we couldn't get close enough for the visit," says Ms Ardern.

Newshub.

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