National MP Harete Hipango regrets unwise decision to edit Wikipedia page

Harete Hipango said she regrets instructing a staffer to edit her Wikipedia page by removing controversies from her biography.

“Earlier this week I asked a staff member to edit my Wikipedia page,” Hipango said in a statement.

“I recognise that this was an unwise decision and I regret that it may be distracting from what we should be focused on, which is holding the Government to account.”

Earlier in the day, Hipango appeared unaware she had done this, telling media she would inquire into what went wrong, and thanking the media for alerting her to the situation.

The allegations emerged overnight after Wikipedia editors spotted that the “controversies” section of Hipango’s Wikipedia page had been edited.

The gaffe-prone MP has an extensive selection of prior controversies – including repeatedly being found near anti-vaccination protests, and allegations of misspending Parliamentary funds – detailed on her Wikipedia page.

Wikipedia moderators traced the person making the edits to a Parliamentary Services IP address, meaning the person making the edits likely worked on the Parliament precinct – and probably for Parliament itself. This would include staffers.

The person making the edits identified themselves as a staffer of Hipango.

“I am Harete Hipango’s staff member and am editing her page on her behalf. She’s stated that much of the information in the “Controveries” [SIC] section is false, and is causing a lot of distress to her family,” the editor said.

Other Wikipedia editors judged this meant the editor had a likely conflict of interest and therefore undid the changes they made.

On Thursday morning, Hipango would not confirm whether or not the editor was a staffer of hers.

Hipango appeared not to know about the editing allegations. She thanked the Herald for making her aware of the changes, and then hung up the phone.

“At the moment, I don’t have any comment,” Hipango said.

“Thank you for alerting it to me,” she said.

When pressed as to what she knew about the allegations, Hipango said she’d “make some inquiries”.

“I’ll make some inquiries – thank you for alerting me,” Hipango said.

National leader Chris Luxon was asked what he thought about Hipango’s antics but he did not respond.

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