Written By: - Date published: 7:51 am, October 27th, 2013 - 106 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, democracy under attack, local body elections, spin, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: Bevan Chuang, len brown, luigi wewege, smear campaign, stephen cook
And so it continues. Inside the Palino-Wewege-Cook-Slater camp, every one is pointing the finger at everyone else and putting the blame elsewhere for the clumsily executed smear campaign against Len Brown.
Over at Stuff, Chuang is claiming that Luigi Wewege used private naked photos of her to pressure her into revealing her relationship with Brown.
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.
Cook looks a little to eager to shift the blame onto Wewege, with his attempts to paint himself a some kind of innocent bystander caught u in Wewege’s dirty maneuverings.
Meanwhile, over at the Herald on Sunday, Wewege is doing a limited version of “I knew nuzzink”, and pointing to an ambitious and flirtatious Chuang as the instigator of the smear campaign. He is still claiming he had no intimate sexual relationship with Chuang. And yet, the naked photos and the Chuang’s facebook and email revelations would indicate otherwise.
And you would still have to wonder, if Wewege is so blameless, why he went immediately into hiding and then packed his bags and left the country. The HoS article reads like the script of a B movie, carried out in a darkened pub somewhere in Parnell. Wewege claims to have only known that Brown lasciviously hit on Chuang, and not that they’d had an affair. He claims he did not know the full details til Chuang’s affadivit was published.
Wewege, also playing the innocent caught up in a political drama bigger than him, says he just passed on some information that he thought was important.
Wewege says “it was so long ago” he cannot even remember what day he contacted Slater.
“At the time I didn’t think anything of it. I was very politically naive in that sense. When you’re short-staffed on a campaign and working 24/7, one tends not to go into details as to how this’ll play out.”
In the Palino camp various, vague scenarios were discussed but no concrete strategy formed around the Chuang allegations, he says. “I don’t think we really knew what was going on. There was talk of a byelection or something. There was all types of stuff swirling around. I even heard that John would become mayor.”
After the election results became clear:
In a startling claim, Wewege says Chuang blamed the mayor for her own loss in the Albert-Eden Local Board-Maungawhau Subdivision elections. “She felt that he [Brown] somehow orchestrated her not getting a seat. All I wanted to do was just essentially go home. I was certainly of the mind that we had tried to get information from her but in my mind it was game over, really.”
“Essentially, post-election, I had nothing to do with it at all. I was transitioning into the next phase of my life.”
But Chuang is sparked into action, after anonymous threatening text messages and her own electoral defeat.
Wewege denies sending the messages, saying it would have been pointless for him to do so, and he had for days accepted Palino would never be mayor. “To be honest, mate,” he says, “it didn’t come from my side. It couldn’t have, because, as I said when we didn’t get anything from her, I thought it was pretty much over. I made peace with the fact.”
He adds: “I was quite realistic that I didn’t think we were going to get across the line.”
Chuang meets Palino in a Mission Bay carpark on the Sunday night. They sit and talk in his car for 90 minutes. She says they agreed to suggest Brown stand down, blaming ill health. Palino denies this. The following day she meets freelance journalist Stephen Cook in Grey Lynn McDonald’s, and over two hours reveals the most tawdry details of her affair with the Mayor.
The revelations emerge on the Tuesday after the election, published on the Whale Oil blog. “I don’t think it was necessary to go into that much detail,” Wewege say
So the carpark meeting was all initiated by Chuang as part of her campaign to bring down Brown? This just doesn’t ring true in the face of the details Chuang and Cook have revealed. And, Wewege is overplaying his naive innocence. That coupled with the conflicting stories, his reluctance to come forward and explain his role until now, and his flight from the country, point to someone who is far from naive and innocent.
He also claims to have substantial contexts in other countries.
In the pub not far from his Parnell apartment, Wewege says he can thank his friends, including some very far away, for supporting him through the battle zone.
“Look, I’ve got friends as far as DC that even know about this,” Wewege says. “They are quite appalled as to the fact this has been deflected on to me. And not to the mayor.”
Wewege continues to look like someone who spins tales and half truths to make himself look good. He certainly hasn’t convinced the writer of the HoS editorial today.
So many accusations and counter-accusations among those who tried to bring down Brown with a ill-judged smear campaign, it’s hard to work out who is to blame. But I guess it’s got nothing to do with the stuff John Key keeps in his top drawer.
Got to wonder who is in the shadows frantically pulling various levers?