This has been quite a year for National.
It is onto its third leader, has lost a slew of experienced MPs, and has had other MPs resign in curious circumstances. And now it appears that it has a crisis involving its Upper Harbour candidate, Jake Bezzant.
The details are behind Business Desk’s paywall but I understand they involve allegations that he was involved in some unusual deals and that he had overstated his experience in his CV. One detail that was questioned was his claim that he had co founded Parking Sense and that it grew from the lounge of his University flat whereas from Company records it appears that it was formed six months before he joined and that he was not a founding shareholder.
Upper Harbour candidate Jake Bezzant left a Kiwi parking tech company over disputed contracts including shipping sensors to a Texas development that’s never been built https://t.co/TnMl7QGv1Z
— Bex Stevenson (@bex_stevenson) September 13, 2020
Senior National MPs were warned by letter dated July 19, 2020. It makes you wonder why they did not take any action at the time although to be fair this was the time when it was announced that Andrew Falloon was standing down from Parliament for “health reasons” and it then quickly emerged that the cause of his depression was the drunken sending of inappropriate graphic material to a woman who was not his wife and who was actually a teenager. The headspace to deal with yet another crisis involving a National candidate clearly was not there.
National’s problem is that there are only a few days before nominations close.
Upper Harbour should be a safe National seat but Labour is running the high profile and very talented lawyer Vanushi Walters. This news cannot do anything but hurt National’s chances and further derail its campaign.
What does it do?
National’s only choice may be to deselect Bezzant and urgently select their New Lynn candidate Lisa Whyte for the seat. She is well known in the area and has served on the Upper Harbour local board for years. Or it could risk losing the seat.
And most importantly where did the information come from? Which senior National MP leaked it and why?
There does not seem to be an upside for National. I almost feel sorry for them.