A picture of this billboard is making the rounds on social media. (Source: Facebook)

A picture of a billboard that has gone viral on social media has been confirmed as a fake by a spokesperson from the National Party.

Clark Hennesey, the campaign communications Manager for the National Party says, “It’s not one of our signs, and it looks fake/photoshopped to me. I can’t even tell who that man is on it, but he’s not one of our MPs.”

The billboard has been widely criticised by Māori on social media during the last 24 hours. Hennesey says, “You would need to approach whoever is circulating it and ask where they’ve seen it. If it is real and is up somewhere, I would certainly like to know.”

The origin of the picture appears to have come from the Impact Pro Wrestling site, a company promoting wrestling fights in New Zealand. According to its website, one of its fighters has taken on the character Mr Burns, the man pictured in the billboard.

National list candidate, Nuk Korako says the campaign trial can get nasty. “It’s obviously an example of fake news, that’s what it seems like.”

Korako, who is of Ngāi Tahu descent, was a first time MP getting in on the list following the last election.

“The campaign trail can get nasty and you have to have thick skin for it, I’m ok with that, sometimes though it affects my sons."

In the 2006 election, National used the Iwi vs Kiwi billboards suggesting a Labour-led government would prioritise Māori interests over the general public. National lost that election to Helen Clark and was replaced soon thereafter by John Key.