A candidate for the New Conservative party admits to being "pranked" after posting a digitally altered image of his campaign hoarding onto Facebook.
Rudi du Plooy, who is standing for the right-wing party in the Hamilton West electorate, posted on his Facebook page on Tuesday an image of his campaign hoarding, which he said was vandalised.
The image showed the words "Bokke bo" appearing on the sign and du Plooy's face covered. However, on inspection it's clear the picture has been digitally altered with the words being added with a Paint-like computer application. The user's cursor is also clearly visible.
"VANDALS ARE DETERMINED TO KILL FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN NEW ZEALAND - NC IS COMMITTED TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH - Vandalism is a criminal act and all instances will be reported to NZ Police," du Plooy wrote.
Several hours later, du Plooy posted two images. One being with the digitally altered picture and another of him in front of his unvandalised sign.
"PEEKABOO - NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON'T - So, we have just been pranked - The 'VANDALISED' photo was photo shopped and the black 'spray-painted' items are all FAKE - The good news is that the sign is in good health," he wrote.
On Thursday morning, du Plooy added a comment to that Facebook post clarifying that "someone pranked us and put out a doctored photo."
"So was just a joke and we have taken it as such. Unfortunately some folks still just don't get it."
After admitting to the prank, du Plooy took the opportunity to link through to the New Conservatives' free speech policy.
"New Conservative will ensure that free speech in New Zealand remains free, in order to allow ideological engagement and robust debate, to give citizens the right to hear all information in order to make properly informed decisions in the spirit of true democracy."