Len and Luigi

The Herald on Sunday has an exclusive interview with , prior to his departure from New Zealand. Extracts:

Wewege says he had no idea of the intimate sexual detail supplied in an affidavit released last week. Wewege will criticise his friend and former boss John Palino but the line of answers he supplies stay mostly as straight as the crease on his trousers.

“All I ever knew was that the mayor made propositions towards her. I never knew the extent. I never knew there were any sexual relations between the two of them.”

Wewege says he ran into Chuang at a mayoral interview for John Palino at a TV station a few months ago. He hadn’t seen Chuang for a while, he says, and she told him she had been propositioned by . He says these claims – that Brown hit on Chuang in the Ngati Whatua room and had been exchanging texts with her – were enough to spark his concerns.

And:

What I will categorically say is that John Palino simply did not know the revelations of what was in the affidavit. I certainly don’t think he knew that there was any form of sexual relations between Bevan and [Len].”

The overall interview isn’t too bad for Wewege, but other stories are not so good.

Kathryn Powley writes in the HoS:

Bevan Chuang claims Luigi Wewege knew of the relationship between her and Len Brown in July, three months before the election.

Text messaging between Chuang and Wewege in July and August refer to the relationship. Texting on July 31, in which Chuang discusses why she does not want to be involved in a plan to reveal her relationship with Brown, concludes, “and it won’t help my future by saying I’m involved in an extra-marital relationship?”

Which is in contrast to his statements.

The HoS editorial:

With any luck, New Zealand has seen the last of Luigi Wewege and his style of politics. He told the Herald on Sunday in an interview when we tracked him down this week, that he is leaving the country and has friends in Washington DC who are “appalled” that he is suffering opprobrium for dishing dirt on Auckland Mayor Len Brown.

And the Sunday Star-Times reports:

Naked photos of the woman who had a two-year affair with Auckland Mayor Len Brown were used to force her to go public with her story.

The pictures were sent by a member of rival John Palino’s campaign team in the run-up to the grubbiest local body elections in living memory.

Bevan Chuang alleges nude photos of her were released by Luigi Wewege, who was part of the team campaigning for John Palino to become mayor of Auckland.

The journalist who broke the story of the affair, Stephen Cook, said an email arrived from Wewege, Chuang’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, a week before the story ran.

It contained three naked images of Chuang, with messages such as “love you” and “miss you” scrawled on her body in lipstick. Chuang had taken photos of herself on her phone and sent them to Wewege.

The images arrived at a point when Chuang and Wewege had fallen out because she was resisting his pleas to go public with the story.

The email did not contain a message, but Cook said Wewege was aware of his plans to set up an X-rated website.

“He’s the ultimate love rat, you’d have to say. He’s trying to humiliate her,” Cook said, adding he had no plans to use the images and considered them a gross breach of Chuang’s privacy.

His actions speak volumes. May future women be fore-warned.

This is the story that just keeps developing. While the current focus is on Wewege, Team Brown won’t want the story to remain on the front pages. He’s still cancelling functions, his office is in turmoil, and the inquiry from the CEO has yet to get underway, let alone report.

Andrea Vance wrote in 2012:

Alastair Campbell, Britain’s ruthless bad-boy of spin-doctoring, has a set formula for surviving a political scandal.

If your minister’s woes make the papers for 11 days straight they have to go.

John Banks rode it out. Shane Jones made a half-hearted effort, but lasted barely a week.

Has been around two weeks now, and still some way to go I say. The challenges for Len Brown are:

  • What will the inquiry reveal and conclude?
  • Has he said anything during this scandal that is false, that will be contradicted at a later stage?
  • How to get back to being the Mayor, able to turn up to public functions without risking members of the public yelling abuse
  • Sorting out his office
  • Hoping that the identity of the mystery texter is not revealed to be someone close to him or his office

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