Chris Bishop says sorry after Chlöe Swarbrick again accuses Opposition of 'lies' about drug testing

Chris Bishop has apologised for apparently getting his facts wrong about drug testing at music festivals after being called out on Twitter by Chlöe Swarbrick.

The National Party MP claimed on the social media platform that attendees at this year's Rhythm & Alps (R&A) festival would be able to test their recreational drugs but not be able to test themselves for COVID-19.

But the Green Party MP pointed out that isn't the case.

"At (R&A) this summer there will not, in fact, be drug checking services. National fought it every step of the way (and continued to spread falsity like this) and while I'm over the moon Labour Ministers finally signed off some funding, it came too little too late," Swarbrick said.

Bishop replied: "Sorry. I thought there would be at R&A. My point is not about that specific festival but is about antigen testing more generally."

Chris Bishop apologises for lying about drug testing at Rhythm & Alps 2022.
Photo credit: Twitter

However, National's COVID-19 spokesperson failed to remove the tweet claiming drug testing is happening at R&A - at the time of publishing it remains live.

Swarbrick published more tweets about the topic in a thread, including directly accusing the Opposition of lying. 

She reposted two tweets she earlier published in November claiming National's Mark Mitchell was "spreading falsity" while Simeon Brown was "retweeting fake news".

"The drug debate in this country deserves at least a basic Google of facts from the vehement opposition to it," she said.

"Soz for the grouch. Few things make me as incensed as the impunity with which politicians can lie and grandstand about drugs while people get hurt because of their anti-evidence decisions and rhetoric."

It's far from the first time Swarbrick has called out National MPs for their statements and actions on drug safety in Aotearoa.

In January on Newshub Nation she accused some of them - without naming names - of privately supporting drug law reform despite publicly working to block it.

"I think what you'll find is that the current National Party administration is not particularly keen on constructive dialogue when it comes to drug reform in this country," she told Newshub Nation.

"And it's really unfortunate, given that I have had multiple conversations over around three-and-a-half years now with National MPs who express very different opinions in private."

For more information about drug safety in New Zealand, visit Know Your Stuff or the NZ Drug Foundation.