Jared Savage is a senior reporter at the New Zealand Herald

Palino's man cut from global list

Luigi Wewege (left, with Mayor Len Brown) is said to be always keen for a photo opportunity with anyone important.
Luigi Wewege (left, with Mayor Len Brown) is said to be always keen for a photo opportunity with anyone important.

The political organiser who asked Len Brown's mistress to reveal the affair has been withdrawn from a global list of influential young people.

The Washington-based Diplomatic Courier magazine last month named Luigi Wewege as one of the top 99 foreign policy professionals under 33, because of his efforts to "foster intellectual dialogue and relationships between New Zealand youth and the world decision-makers of today and tomorrow".

But his profile was pulled from the international affairs website yesterday after the editors became concerned about his role in the Auckland mayoral sex scandal.

Managing editor Chrisella Herzog contacted the Herald to confirm the veracity of Facebook messages sent between Mr Wewege, a member of the John Palino campaign team, and Bevan Chuang, who publicly revealed a two-year affair with Auckland Mayor Len Brown.

Messages the pair exchanged back up Ms Chuang's claims of a casual sexual relationship and the pressure she felt to go public about her affair with Mr Brown.

She had told Mr Wewege on August 28 she could not "get any evidence" from Mr Brown because he would not talk to her.

"And it won't help my future by saying that I've been involved in an extramarital affair?"

A month out from the elections, Mr Wewege replied: "Baby but YOU can change the election".

Ms Herzog said Mr Wewege's profile would be withdrawn from the "Top 99 under 33 list pending further review".

She said Mr Wewege was nominated by two third parties but would not disclose their identities other than to describe them as "trustworthy people in the foreign policy and young professionals realm".

Mr Wewege, 28, has gone to ground this week and has not responded to requests for comment.

A South African of Italian heritage, he moved to New Zealand in 2011 and began moving in Auckland political circles where he was described by National Party sources as as affable, charming and a smooth networker who was always "keen for a photo opportunity with anyone important".

- NZ Herald

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