Green Party list MP Kevin Hague is today reassuring people that he is alive and well in New Zealand, not trapped penniless in Spain, as an email scam claims.
Mr Hague's personal email account has been hacked and a scamster purporting to be him is emailing his account contact list to say that he is in financial difficulty, having misplaced his bag in Spain, and desperately needs US$2000 to cover his hotel bill and flight home.
Promising immediate reimbursement when he returns home, the email says: "I feel so devastated, now my passport and other belongings have been retained by the hotel management pending the time I pay my hotel bills. This is shameful."
Mr Hague said today the only shameful thing was that his account had been hacked.
"I can assure people that I am not in Spain and in no need of donations."
He is not alone in being a victim of this particular scam, but Mr Hague is the first MP to be caught up in it.
Mr Hague told The Westport News he was actually in Rotorua today, attending a new cycle track blessing.
"I'm not in Spain. I would love to be, of course. If anyone does want to send me $2000 I would gratefully receive it. I might use it to defray election expenses."
He had been in Spain only once, 20 years ago, when the temperature was "unbearable" and he had stayed in "very basic" student accommodation with cold showers.
"I'm pretty sure that even had I left an unpaid bill they would have forgotten it by now."
Mr Hague said the last time he was subject to a similar scam an email purportedly from him urged people to buy a new Macintosh computer.
"To be honest it was a disaster. It not only sent that message to all my contacts but as it did so it deleted my entire inbox and all my contacts, which would be in the thousands."
He had yet to check whether the latest scam had done the same.