Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

Blogger denies plot to unseat Brown

Blogger Cameron Slater. Photo / Richard Robinson.
Blogger Cameron Slater. Photo / Richard Robinson.

The right-wing blogger who revealed Auckland Mayor Len Brown's extra-marital affair has denied a plot to unseat the left-leaning politician.

Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater broke the news of Bevan Chuang's two-year affair with Mr Brown on Tuesday, two days after Ms Chuang met with right-wing mayoral challenger John Palino in a Mission Bay car park.

The Weekend Herald today revealed details of that late-night meeting, in which Ms Chuang claims Mr Palino's camp raised the possibility that Mr Brown could be shamed into resigning the mayoralty.

Ms Chuang told the Weekend Herald the meeting on Sunday, October 13 - the day after the election - discussed whether Mr Brown might resign over the affair.

Mr Palino and his campaign manager, Cameron Slater's father John Slater, have denied knowing about the affair before the story broke.

Ms Chuang provided separate statements to the Weekend Herald and TV3's The Nation, saying she met Mr Palino on the night of the election and Mr Palino told her she should go public about the affair.

Ms Chuang said they discussed that Mr Brown could resign, using the excuse of a heart problem.

She claimed in her separate affidavit to The Nation, aired this morning, that Mr Palino promised her a job if he became mayor.

Asked on The Nation if he was aware of a plan to unseat Mr Brown, Mr Slater said he had "no idea".

"I don't know what she's talking about."

Ms Chuang said in her statement that she spoke to Cameron Slater on the morning after the mayoral election, and he told her the revelations would shame Mr Brown into resigning.

When that was put to Slater by The Nation, he said: "Well it would. It would shame him into resigning, it should shame him into resigning."

But Slater denied involvement in a plan to get Mr Brown to resign.

Slater said there had been "a lot of assumptions and a lot of leaping to conclusions".

"There's a lot of talks of plots. I can tell you that there was no plot from myself and Stephen Cook [the freelance journalist who helped break the story on Whale Oil] at all.

"We were dealing with a story, and it wasn't until Monday _ the day before the story broke - that we actually had all of the details of the affair."

Asked if the Palino campaign had alerted him about the affair, Slater said it had not.

"No, I cannot confirm that because I received reports from many different places."

Cameron Slater said he was approached by Ms Chuang's acquaintance Luigi Wewege, who put him in touch with Ms Chuang.

Mr Wewege, who had been in a relationship with Ms Chuang, was a member of Mr Palino's campaign team.

"No it's not Palino's campaign, it's one person," Slater said.

Slater also denied he tried to sell the story to Woman's Day. He said the magazine approached him after the story broke, not before.

The Nation also revealed further messages between Ms Chuang and Mr Wewege.

On September 8, Ms Chuang said she was returning a voice recorder to Mr Wewege, which he had earlier asked her to record Mr Brown with.

A fortnight later, she agreed to talk to Cameron Slater and freelance journalist Stephen Cook.

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