A single tweet by National MP Nicky Wagner has caused outrage and sparked calls for her to resign immediately after she wrote "rather be out on the harbour" when she was "busy with disability meetings in Auckland."
The Minister of Disability Issues tweeted the statement on Thursday, along with a photo of a view of Auckland Harbour from the CBD.
In a series of tweets this morning, Ms Wagner apologised on her Twitter account "for any offence I caused to the disability community."
"That was not my intention," she added.
"It was a gorgeous day and we all would have rather had the meetings out on the harbour."
Nicky Wagner's Tweet that has sparked calls for the MP to resign.
Source: Nicky Wagner Twitter
Prime Minister Bill English spoke about her tweet this morning at the opening of Auckland's Waterview Tunnel, saying the tweet is a "storm in a teacup".
"Nicky is a very strong advocate for the disability community and much respected," Mr English said.
"I think they'll see, as I do, that she's a very hard working competent minister who made a mistake with her tweet, easily misunderstood and she's fixed it and that's appropriate."
"There's no way it was meant to be offensive."
He said there is no reason for her to resign.
The original tweet has drawn heavy criticism with members of the public expressing their anger over the "disgusting and embarrassing" tweet.
"No worries, sweetie, after September 23 you can spend as much time on the harbour and away from pesky work as you like," Patricia commented.
"Good idea. Please resign immediately and get out on the harbour. Stay out there," Barbarella stated, one of many who told Ms Wagner to resign.
Sandra said she is "shocked and horrifed" at the Tweet and wrote: "As if it is not hard enough for the disability sector as it is! Get a grip!"
Special Educational Needs NZ took to Facebook this morning to express their disapproval at the minister's comments.
"I just don't know where to start," Diane from Special Educational Needs NZ said.
"That's just such a thoughtless and heartless thing to say. 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."
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