NZ Election 2020: National MP Alfred Ngaro accused of spreading 'gross piece of misinformation' on Facebook

Labour MP Phil Twyford has slammed a "gross piece of misinformation" posted online by his National Party rival for the Te Atatu electorate, Alfred Ngaro.

Ngaro, ranked 30th on the party's list and in danger of being eliminated from Parliament on recent poll results, took to Facebook on Friday to attack Twyford and Labour.

"Your local MP should represent the values of the people and place," he wrote, accompanied by an image of Twyford overlaid claims "a vote for Phil" was a vote for legalising recreational cannabis, decriminalising all drugs, full-term abortion and "abortion based on gender and disability". 

Ngaro deleted the post, but not before Twyford - the incumbent for Te Atatu - got a screenshot.

"I wouldn't normally share stuff like this on social media, and even though my opponent has deleted his post, it is such a gross piece of misinformation it shouldn't be ignored," he wrote.

"It has more in common with the fake news of the American religious right than the way we do politics in New Zealand."

Newshub has contacted the National Party and Ngaro for a response.

Twyford's fellow MPs and supporters were shocked. 

"I won't repeat the lies that @alfredngaro is spreading because that just obviously spreads them more," Labour MP Ruth Dyson wrote on Twitter. "But he is lying about his political opponent @PhilTwyford who deserves support as an excellent MP for Te Atatu.  As a professed Christian, I find this lying from Ngaro weird."

"Some A-class bullsh*t from Ngaro," wrote Auckland Councillor Richard Hills. "National is officially sitting in a sad, conservative, desperate shadow of its former self. "

"How do you take aim at Phil Twyford and miss?" asked right-leaning political commentator Ben Thomas. "Apart from one slight hiccup as a minister, Alfred has performed well and he should have been a shoe-in for a high list place but his increasingly zealous [Facebook] posts have really sunk his career over the last year."

"As a long term Te Atatu resident I can't point to a single achievement of Alfred Ngaro's," said former Alliance and Internet Mana leader Laila Harre. "He can keep his extremism out of our hood." 

Alfred Ngaro.
Alfred Ngaro. Photo credit: Newshub Nation

Ngaro's post comes just a day after he made headlines for publishing a pamphlet featuring a photo of Auckland's former Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse - a longtime Labour supporter. 

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Labour has no plans to decriminalise "all drugs", as Ngaro claimed. Recreational drugs like alcohol and nicotine are already legal, and cannabis might be if the current referendum passes. Labour has said it will honour the results of the referendum if re-elected, even if Kiwis vote against it. 

In a recent study by political scientists from Victoria University, National was found to have spread some half-truths on social media, the study authors singling out leader Judith Collins in particular.