28 Jul 2020

Palmerston North National candidate apologises for Hitler impersonation

5:14 pm on 28 July 2020

National's candidate for Palmerston North is apologising for a photo circulating on social media of him appearing to impersonate Adolf Hitler.

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William Wood, the National Party's candidate for Palmerston North. Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

In the photo, the now 18-year-old William Wood is seen with a white painted on moustache similar to Hitler's and holding up his arm in a Nazi salute pose.

In a short statement, Wood said the photo was taken when he was 14.

"It was an error on my part, I apologise for any offence that it may have caused," he said.

ACT leader David Seymour said he would not punish someone for something they did when they were 14.

"I would just tell them I thought it was very bad taste and I certainly hope that if he is now mature enough to be a candidate, he understands it's the wrong thing to do," he said.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters blamed Wood's age for the photo.

"Look, we all make mistakes when we are young, I would think it is part of the growing up process and from the looks of it he is still growing up," he said.

National MPs were approached by reporters at Parliament.

Ian McKelvie said that he was not aware of the photo and that "boys will be boys" in response to questions about Wood apologising.

Shane Reti said the matter was between Wood, his electorate and the party.

"I don't have a view on that here now and I haven't seen it," he said.