Yesterday was one of those days; mid afternoon, he tweeted:
Just heard the
#rena has split. Unconfirmed at this point. Bad news. Hope nobody has been injured.
Shortly afterwards, he added this:
#rena broken in two. Rear end precarious and could slide off the reef.
Unfortunately for Mr Hughes, the Rena was at that point still in one piece, which is how it remains this morning. But unsurprisingly, his tweet prompted a mini avalanche on Twitter and people passed his message on; after all, he's a Honourable Member, so anything he says MUST be factual; mustn't it?
And it's not the first time that Mr Hughes has let his political instincts get in the way of the truth with regard to the Rena. Just last week he was running the line via social media that oil should have been being pumped from the Rena from Day One. Patently, given the statements made by expert salvors, that was not possible due to the damage sustained by the Rena on her grounding. It didn't stop Gareth Hughes trying to make political capital though.
And Hughes' political gymnastics did not go unnoticed; John Armstrong commented thus on Saturday:
National found itself charged in the court of public opinion with failing to respond quickly to something which was obvious to everyone else - that the ill-fated ship was going to break up and cause New Zealand's worst marine environmental catastrophe. Obvious in hindsight, that is.
The exception was Gareth Hughes, the Greens' marine spokesman, who agreed earlier than most with Joyce the ship could break up.
Hughes was quick to put Joyce on notice for the supposed slow reaction of Maritime New Zealand.
But not as quick as the Greens would like people to believe.
The fate of the Rena was such a pressing priority for the Greens that they did not see fit to set down a parliamentary question to Joyce on the Thursday before last even though the Rena had struck the Astrolabe reef some 36 hours earlier.
Hughes was instead on the case of another navigation-challenged wanderer of the high seas, quizzing Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley as to whether the penguin Happy Feet had come to an unhappy end as by-catch in the net of a sub-Antarctic trawler.
While Hughes was otherwise engaged, the preliminary stages of what will be an intensely complex salvage operation were already well under way in part because Joyce had given the ship's owners the hurry up.
The following day saw Hughes switch his attention to the Rena, starting a political circus which continued unabated this week.
We have no doubt that Gareth Hughes is a sincere young man, who wants to make the world a better place. And he probably has a good future in politics, especially given the manner in which the Greens are taking votes from Labour, to Clare Curran's disgust. So perhaps he would be wise to follow Sir Robert Muldoon's famous advice to newbie MP's; that for their first term, they should breathe through their noses.
Youthful enthusiasm is one thing; spreading misinformation for political advantage is another thing altogether, and not one of which Gareth Hughes should, as a principled Green MP should be proud.