Mum's fury over Facebook photos

By Lin Ferguson -
Trina Severinsen. Photo / Wanganui Chronicle
Trina Severinsen. Photo / Wanganui Chronicle

An aspiring councillor has taken legal advice over an alleged smear campaign involving photos taken from her Facebook site.

Trina Severinsen, who will stand for Wanganui District Council later this year, said she was furious that images of her kissing people had been emailed widely to residents.

She said the photos of her, her boyfriend and a group of friends were taken on New Year's Eve and described them as party high jinks fuelled by a few drinks.

The 28-year-old mother of four had nothing to hide and didn't care about the photos but was incensed by the attached captions forwarded with them.

"I find it hard to believe why anyone would want to go to these lengths and to be so nasty.

"The captions are libellous and people can't get away with that sort of stuff.

"Anyway I know one thing - I'm so pleased this happened now, early in my campaign. There will be no more photographs on my Facebook, I can tell you that. I have learned a big lesson."

In an email exchange with one of the people circulating the photos, Wanganui Mayor Michael Laws said he intended to advise Severinsen to sue for defamation.

He described the sender as "a vile woman" and suggested she too get a lawyer.

"People can have a go at others for their political affiliations, or whatever, but this has gone a step beyond that (and) been taken out of context."

He said people who defamed others through email, texts, Facebook and other media had to realise they were subject to the same laws as anybody else.

But he said Severinsen may benefit from the incident because many who read about it would have sympathy for her.

Severinsen said Laws had encouraged her in her bid for public office.

"He is my mentor and is helping me. His advice is fantastic. I'm very lucky."

She said she wanted to get into local politics to represent young families because she knew what they needed and people should keep trying to better themselves.

She thought that Laws had done an outstanding job for Wanganui but said there could be spats if she got elected.

"Well I have very definite views, that's the sort of person I am. And I am passionate about young families and what they need in Wanganui. I love Wanganui, I was born and bred here and it's my dream to become a councillor.

"I think it's very good for my children too to see their mother trying to get ahead."

- ADDITIONAL REPORTING: REBECCA LEWIS

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