National's Hutt South MP Chris Bishop opened his controversy-causing Snapchat account after it was suggested by his campaign team.

This move contradicted National Party guidelines around the use of social media by its MPs.

Bishop has changed his policy around using the social media app to message young people after learning that parents were "unsure" about the interactions.

The move comes after Bishop, who is National's spokesman for police and youth, was confronted before last year's election by a mother upset at him for messaging her daughter and other minors.


The mother told Fairfax Bishop had thanked her for bringing it to his attention.

"I wanted to confront him as many parents felt very uncomfortable that their children were messaged," she said.

Bishop was unavailable to comment today but a spokesman said the move onto the social media platform was suggested by his campaign team.

The spokesman acknowledged the National Party Social Media guide advised against using Snapchat as a public platform, but noted this advice was a guideline rather than a rule.

"At this time, it is recommended that MPs and candidates avoid using the Snapchat
app as a public social media platform," the guide read.

Bishop responded on Facebook to the story about his social media use on Sunday.

He said he communicated with young people through his account, but after hearing that some parents were "unsure" about their kids communicating with MPs on social media, he changed his settings so he could only interact with people he knew personally.

"My intention in being accessible on social media is to help me be an effective MP and it has proven a good way of engaging directly with constituents, including young New Zealanders who generally aren't that engaged in the political process.


"In mid-2017 it was suggested to me that I open a Snapchat account, which I did. This proved very popular and lots of people sent me messages through it. I got into the spirit of things and would often reply to messages sent to me. Most messages were of support from people in Lower Hutt, including young people, for me/National.

"However, after a few weeks I heard third hand that some parents were unsure about their kids communicating with MPs on social media. I adopted a policy of having a "Story Only" account and only having SnapChat friends that I knew personally."

He described media reports about his use of Snapchat as "pretty upsetting".