MP Chris Bishop confronted over social media contact with teenage girls

  • 11/02/2018

National and Hutt South MP Chris Bishop says he used social media app Snapchat to communicate with young people after parents of teenage girls he messaged reportedly complained.

The messages were exchanged with at least two girls, one who was 13, before last year's election and led to him being confronted by one of their mothers, Stuff reports.

Another mother complained to MP Paul Goldsmith after Mr Bishop, who is in his mid 30s, was in daily contact with her daughter for a week or two.

However, neither parent was concerned that his intentions were anything other than misguided.

Mr Bishop has since posted on Facebook on Sunday, saying he had placed a real priority on engaging with young people and supporting youth, particularly in the Hutt Valley, since he was elected in 2014.

He says he is very active on social media and has 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."

He said he opened a Snapchat account in mid-2017, which had proved to be popular.

"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."

Mr Bishop said it would be sad if politicians were put off engaging with young people because of stories like this.