Paula Bennett to Facebook troll: 'U need help'

Paula Bennett (file)
Paula Bennett (file)

A member of the public has taken to MP Paula Bennett's Facebook page to tell her to sexual violence "never hurt anyone", and she should "lighten up".

Ms Bennett, MP for Upper Harbour, has been trying to get Wicked Campers to remove offensive and degrading slogans from the side of its hire vans. In a Facebook post yesterday she asked her followers to send in photos of any vans they saw, so she can take them to the chief censor.

The van in the picture accompanying the post bore the slogan "smoking is cool".

"Advocating for smoking is one of the least offensive and doesn't even hit my radar. Slogans inciting sexual violence do," she wrote in response to a follower who accused her of an "abuse of freedom of speech".

Ms Bennett's comment was quickly followed up by a man named John Lehmann, who wrote: "Bit of sexual violence never hurt anyone Paula. Your should try a bit .Lol [sic]."

His comment was slammed by Ms Bennett, as well as her other followers.

"I'm so tempted to block u but think I might just let your comments speak for themselves. U need help," the MP wrote.

"John Lehmann I've never said this to anyone online -- but you're a lowlife idiot and should be ashamed of yourself," said one follower.

"John Lehmann your comment is stupid, uneducated and worthy of Donald Trump. Sexual violence never hurt anyone? Perhaps you'd like to try it for yourself!! [sic]" wrote another.

Ms Bennett later "reposted" Mr Lehmann's original comment, to which Mr Lehmann replied, "Lighten up Paula".

Both posts, and the accompanying comment threads, were public.

Sexual violence campaigner Louise Nicholas told the Otago Daily Times Mr Lehmann's comments were "a sign of weakness" made from behind a computer.

"If you have something to say, come and say it to our face. That's the challenge I put to him."

Mr Lehmann appears to post most things on his Facebook page publicly. On it, he has shared a number of Facebook posts by Winston Peters, railed against immigration and called abortion "murder".