New Zealand Catholic bishops today stressed they have not endorsed and will not endorse any political party.
The bishops expressed serious concern over a false statement attributed to them and circulating widely on social media that claims they are urging Catholics to vote for the New Conservative political party.
Wellington Cardinal John Dew, vice-president of the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference, said they have reported the matter to the Electoral Commission.
“We are in the final stages of preparing our triennial Election Statement for distribution,” said Cardinal Dew.
“Our Election Statement will specifically say that it is not our role as bishops to tell people who to vote for.”
Cardinal Dew said they have made clear to all parishes as well as the New Conservative party that the circulating statement is false.
“I am particularly concerned that this false statement purports to say some of these fabrications were made in the name of an employee of a Church entity who is named in the document. That is truly appalling.
“We have been told by a representative of the New Conservative Party that they do not know who is behind the false statement, and we accept that,” Cardinal Dew said.
NZ Catholic earlier reported a fake press release purportedly from the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference was picked up by a conservative Catholic blogger and posted on social media sites.
The blogger’s post had since been retracted.