Former National Party MP Dan Bidois backtracks after accidentally appearing to endorse anti-vax group Voices for Freedom

A former National Party MP has backtracked after accidentally appearing to endorse a controversial anti-vaccination group.

Dan Bidois, who was previously the Opposition's MP for Northcote, posted to Facebook on Thursday a picture of a billboard by Voices for Freedom, a New Zealand-based group that was removed from Facebook last month for spreading COVID-19 misinformation.

It featured a quote from famous physicist Albert Einstein, "Science can flourish only in an atmosphere of free speech", alongside the group's logo.

"Nice quote from Einstein in Wairau Valley today. Same goes with society!" Bidois captioned the photo.

The post.
The post. Photo credit: Facebook/ Dan Bidois.

However, social media users were quick to call out the former politician for appearing to endorse Voices for Freedom and the group's contentious anti-vaccination stance.

"You do realise that 'Voices for Freedom' is an anti-vaccination group? Well known for spreading misinformation," one person wrote.

"Dan Bidois proving that business success is not proxy for intelligence. If he promoted Voices for Freedom knowing who they are, he is a fool," another commented.

One person called on National politician Chris Bishop to "chat to Dan Bidois about sharing anti-vaxx propaganda online".

In a since-deleted comment, Bidois replied: "I like the quote, NOT the organisation. In fact I don’t endorse any organisations/brands/other messages shown in the picture."

Bidois has since amended the photo to blur out the logo of Voices for Freedom and added a note below.

"Note: I've blotted out the group that funded the billboard as I don't endorse them in any way. Nor do I endorse any other brands/messages seen other than the quote. Cheers, Dan."