Whanganui MP and National Party candidate Harete Hipango has come under fire on social media for posting a false quote criticising New Zealand's farming sector attributed to Labour leader Jacinda Ardern.
The quote, posted as an image on Hipango's public Facebook page, states Ardern said "dairy farming is a world of the past" during the first TVNZ leaders' debate on Tuesday night.
During a to-and-fro in Tuesday's first leaders' debate about "dirty dairying", National Party leader Judith Collins stated that farmers "feel they've got the weight of the world on them".
Ardern responded, saying "that feels to me like a view of a world that has passed".
When asked by the Chronicle why she posted those words, Hipango argued it was not a false quote but was "a construction of key words aligned with Jacinda Ardern".
In her post Hipango captioned the image with the false quote - "dairy farming is a world of the past" and an image of Ardern - with the caption: "This is what the PM really thinks of our dairy farmers. She said it!"
"The Facebook post you seek comment on which I reposted is not a quote. I do not read nor see it depicted properly as a quote with quote marks," Hipango told the Chronicle via email.
But the image Hipango shared did have an opening quote mark.
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"It is not a false quote - as it is not a quote - It is a construction of key words aligned with Jacinda Ardern," Hipango said.
"Her feelings statement diminished / diminishes the reality of the farmers 'world' she iterates as a 'view of the world that has passed'."
Hipango said she had re-read and re-listened to Ardern's comment.
"It is made immediately, connected to and in direct reply to [Judith Collins'] statement about dairy farmers and "the weight of the world". The mirroring technique of language also demonstrates the clear correlation and association by word construction."
The post was still live on Hipango's Facebook page on Thursday afternoon, and had more than 200 comments, many of which were critical of Hipango posting the false claim.
"Shame on you Harete, that was not what was said," commented one Facebook user.
"Harete, I know you have to go along but this is not up to your usual standard. Ka Aroha. Ki a mau," commented another.