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English defends Wagner over tweet

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6 days ago

The Prime Minister says Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner tweeting she'd "rather be out on the harbour" than in a government meeting was a mistake, but one that doesn't merit her resignation.

The minister copped flak on social media over the weekend in reaction to a June 14 tweet that read: "Busy with Disability meetings in Auckland- rather be out on the harbour!"

Special Educational Needs NZ responded on Facebook to the Minister's tweet, saying it was "thoughtless and heartless".

"I'm quite sure people living with disabilities wish they could walk away from what they face every day, but they can't, and it's the Minister's job to support them."

The tweet also prompted calls for Ms Wagner's resignation.

But PM Bill English says her job is safe.

"She would not have been setting out to cause offence at all ... she has a very deep commitment to the disability community, worked very hard for it," he told Three's AM Show on Monday.

"She did a tweet, which was easy to misinterpret, she knows that was a mistake, and she had apologised and she shouldn't be resigning."

But he said it was a reminder to minsters that in the age of social media more discipline was required than in the past.

"We are effectively on live video all the time ... that's how you need to behave."

The Minster on Sunday tweeted the meeting had gone well.

"It was a gorgeous day and we all would have rather had the meetings out on the harbour," she said.

She then apologised.

"I apologise for any offence I have caused to the disability community. That was not my intention."

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