Jared Savage

Jared Savage is the New Zealand Herald's investigations editor.

Mayor saga: Who is Luigi Wewege?

John Palino man's links to the National Party's youth wing

Luigi Wewege.
Luigi Wewege.

The political organiser who asked Len Brown's mistress to reveal their affair belongs to the National Party youth wing.

The Herald revealed yesterday that Luigi Wewege, a key member of right-winger John Palino's mayoral campaign, was in a relationship with Bevan Chuang and wanted her to expose the Auckland mayor's infidelity.

The 28-year-old denied the claims and was not at his Parnell flat or returning phone messages yesterday.

A South African of Italian heritage, Mr Wewege moved to New Zealand in 2011 and began moving in Auckland political circles, including joining the youth wing of the National Party.

He is described as affable, charming and a smooth networker who was always "keen for a photo opportunity with anyone important", according to several National Party sources.

Mr Wewege had also been involved in the campaign for Simon O'Connor, the National MP for Tamaki.

Others described him as an acolyte of Simon Lusk, a campaign strategist for right-wing political candidates, saying he had attended several of Mr Lusk's summer camp training sessions.

Mr Wewege, who also worked in the Auckland Council's events organisation, has gone to ground since the revelations of his relationship with Ms Chuang.

She felt pressured by him to go public on Cameron Slater's Whale Oil blog about her affair with Mr Brown to ruin his reputation before the election. But she refused to swear an affidavit and produce text messages to corroborate her story.

"Luigi started pursuing non-stop about how I should tell on Len," Ms Chuang said.

Messages the pair exchanged on Facebook back up her claims of a sexual relationship and the pressure she felt to gather evidence against Mr Brown.

Mr Wewege's messages were criticised by Brittany Raleigh, the chairwoman of the Young Nats' northern region, who called it "emotional abuse".

"It's important that we speak out against bullying those you're in an intimate relationship with for personal political gain," she wrote on Facebook.

- NZ Herald

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