RAW DATA: Ian Sinclair interviews Bevan Chuang

Len Brown's lover, burlesque dancer, political opportunist? That's the image but who is she really? Bevan Chuang speaks out. A transcript of the Sunday interview

RAW DATA: SUNDAY TRANSCRIPT
IAN SINCLAIR INTERVIEWS BEVAN CHUANG

Len Brown's lover, burlesque dancer, political opportunist? That's the image but who is she really? Bevan Chuang speaks out. A transcript of the Sunday interview that screened tonight:


IAN SINCLAIR: Well, Bevan Chuang, you're a hard woman to track down.

BEVAN CHUANG: (CHUCKLES) I have been in hiding for little while, but, um, yes.

IAN: What's life been like for you over the last couple of weeks?

BEVAN: Um, unreal, actually, if— if there's any better word to say. Um, I was not expecting
the media interest. Um, the people are hounding me down.

IAN: So why then did you decide to speak now to us?

BEVAN: I think everyone have said their side of the story, and those who've, you know—
who will not speak will be hiding and— or fled, and I think it is about time for me to say my story. Also, of course, to apologise for the chaos that's— that's been caused over the last week or two.

IAN: Let's start with the image that's been created.

BEVAN: Mm.

IAN: This is it, in a way, isn't it? Um, here's your public image — Bevan Chuang, mayor's mistress, burlesque dancer, political opportunist. Who's the real Bevan Chuang?

BEVAN: I'm passionate about the community, and this is also the reason why I stood for the local election this year. As for my burlesque dancing, it's obviously a thing that I do as a—
as a pastime, that I do for myself. I don't do them. I've never done a public show. It is just a way to express my femininity. And I think women, um— My belief with— is that women should be allowed to do what they wanted to do.

IAN: So, but everything we hear from the Chinese community is you're a smart woman. You're fluent in three languages.

BEVAN: Yes, I am.

IAN: So how does a smart woman get into this mess?

BEVAN: Smart woman is a hopeless romantic who, um, just meet the wrong people
at the wrong time, who's been taken advantage of when you needed help at, you know— at— at points. And— And, um... And there are times in life where people can see that you need some help, and they can take advantage of it.

IAN (VOICEOVER): In 2011, Bevan would meet Auckland's mayor, Len Brown, after he had appointed her to the city's cultural committee.

IAN: You know, we hear the stories, we hear the stereotype — the powerful politician and
the beautiful young woman. Was that—? Is—? Was it as simple as that for you?

BEVAN: I like the beautiful woman bit. (LAUGHS) Um, no, I-I-I think, um, it was just that we— obviously our personality clicked and, um— and that's how it happened. I, um... He is obviously a very powerful man, um, and probably, you know, if not the most, but definitely one of the most powerful men in NZ.

IAN: Was that intoxicating to you?

BEVAN: No, no. I mean, um,... I have met a lot of powerful men, and I came from... a  background — my family back in Hong Kong is very powerful. And, to be honest, I don't need that to get to where I want. So him being powerful, it's one thing, but it's not the reason that I find intoxicated.

IAN: How does a 58-year-old man get a 31-year-old woman?

BEVAN: (CHUCKLES) Little— Little tips for other men out there. He is— He's great attention to detail, and he— he remembers everything in the thing that you love, you like to do. Um, it's a lot of, um, attention, a very good lover. He remembers everything. He remembers what you like, what your family likes, what you've just talked about last week. Um, you know, um, what you— what perfume you wear, what, you know— and— and little details like that. And sometimes we even have colour coordination, you know, when we go out in the public —not planned, but that just happened, and he would joke about it.

IAN: At the time when you were sitting there in those meetings with him, how did you manage to conceal it? Was it difficult?

BEVAN: I think it went— I-I— obviously for the last two years, it was, you know, pretty, pretty... nicely concealed, you know, sort of hidden. No one... knew about it.

IAN: Did the fact of his being married, how did that affect your view of getting involved with him?

BEVAN: Many, many times have I ask him to just stop the relationship. And, um— And there are... numerous times of— of, um, wanting to— to just, um, back off, because this is wrong.

IAN: Did you reject him?

BEVAN: I have. Many times.

IAN: What did he do?

BEVAN: There was still the non-stop, um, there was still a lot of text messages, phone calls saying that he wants to talk to me and, uh, you know— and, uh, how upset he is.

IAN: Because you've been portrayed...

BEVAN: Mm.

IAN: ...as the woman who took advantage of him, in a sense, his position. But I guess people want to know what was your motive.

BEVAN: I don't think I have a motive. I... I don't know. Yeah, I-I don't... I don't have a motive.

IAN: The one that seems to come up has been, that has been of concern, has been the one of whether or not the mayor used his position...

BEVAN: Mm.

IAN: ...to gain advantage with you or— or whether you gained advantage with him. Have you—? Have you exploited that situation?

BEVAN: I don't personally gain any, um... I have not and still don't gain any, uh, personal gain from having that relationship with him.

IAN: And what about your application for the job, um, at the art gallery? Were you in a sexual relationship with him when you applied for that job and he wrote the reference?

BEVAN: He's one of five referees that I have put on to the list.

IAN: At the time, though, Bevan, at the time when he wrote the reference, was he in a relationship with you? A romantic one, I mean?

BEVAN: Yes.

IAN: He was? Yeah, and at the time when it went forward to the shortlist, was he still there?

BEVAN: Yes.

IAN: But you did use your relationship with him — and it was a romantic relationship — to help gain, get backing for a job, did you not?

BEVAN: Um, he was a referee for the art gallery job, and probably you can say that. I mean, I have got— I've got the job, and, of course, the referees are important. Um, and, yeah, that
could be the advantage, but I obviously have lost more now than I gained.

IAN (VOICEOVER): After the break — enter the other secret lover.

BEVAN: Well, look, I was in love or was in relationship with two men that both start with the word L and both share the same birthday, and they both know exactly what to
do with me.

********

IAN: Well, you look at Len Brown, and you don't think— The word Lothario doesn't spring to mind.

BEVAN: (CHUCKLES)

IAN: Or leading man.

BEVAN: (CHUCKLES) Well, look, I... was in love or was in relationship with two men that both start with the word L and both share the same birthday, and they both know exactly what to do with me. And that's it.

IAN (VOICEOVER): The other lover in the picture? Smooth-talking 28-year-old Luigi Wewege.

BEVAN: I, you know— That they knew exactly what would make it tick, that they go.
It's not— I can't really explain what the attraction was, but I think for a lot of people, being in love, you know, you just fall in love.

IAN: Luigi Wewege?

BEVAN: Yes.

IAN: An unusual name?

BEVAN: I-I actually have no idea how to pronounce his last name, to be honest. (CHUCKLES)

IAN (VOICEOVER): South African Luigi Wewege was an ambitious Young National Party supporter.

IAN: What was the attraction?

BEVAN: It's— He's charming, and, um, he knows what to say to you. You know, he even... gone out of his way to learn a little bit of Chinese just to— to talk to me and just to, you know— It's just a really charming thing that he does. And he is, you know, quite— He is intelligent, I have to say, and, um, you know, he always appear very confident.

IAN: Was he a ladies' man?

BEVAN: Yes.

IAN: And was Len in the relationship with you at the time when you were involved with Luigi?

BEVAN: Correct, yes.

IAN: Right, and did Len know about Luigi?

BEVAN: He knows Luigi, but I'm not sure if he— I don't know if he know about the relationship.

IAN: Do you think he would've minded?

BEVAN: Probably did. I don't know.

IAN (VOICEOVER): Her romance with Luigi faded, but then she met him again last July. By then, Luigi was right-hand man to mayoral candidate John Palino, Len Brown's main rival in
the upcoming elections.

IAN: And by this time, you were a candidate for council?

BEVAN: Yes, correct.

IAN: What did Luigi offer to do for you?

BEVAN: Well, throughout the campaign, he has offered a lot of sweet talk, promises that obviously, you know, not gonna follow through. Um, he has offered, you know— he has offered marriage proposals. We even talked about where we gonna live, we even talked about where we gonna go on holiday for, what we're gonna do. Um, even job promises.

IAN: Were you in love with him?

BEVAN: Yes.

IAN: You would have married him?

BEVAN: Yes.

IAN: A lot of promises. Were you ever that serious with Len? Did it ever get to that kind of conversation with Len?

BEVAN: Um, our— our relationship was... Uh, it was quite clear that I will move on to a permanent, long-term, stable relationship.

IAN: With somebody else?

BEVAN: Yes.

IAN: You had no thought— No— He made no promises of leaving his wife?

BEVAN: No.

IAN (VOICEOVER): Last July, Luigi found out about Bevan's affair with Len.

BEVAN: And he said to me, 'Well you should have kept all the text messages.' And I say, 'Why?' 'So you can do something with it.' And I said, 'No, I would never do that.'

IAN (VOICEOVER): Bevan Chuang says the plan was to use information about the affair to force Len Brown to step down. She says the pressure from Luigi was intense.

BEVAN: It's hard for him to find a job. He's been trying for— so hard. He's just gonna be here as this poor, lonely migrant with nothing, and this is just a little thing that I could do for him and that would make a whole lot of difference. And in saying, 'You have not tried hard enough. You could do this. You haven't tried hard enough.' And— And I remember, um, writing back to him and saying, 'Stop telling me that I'm useless,' and that I can't do anything for you.

IAN: But you could always have said no. Why did you say yes?

BEVAN: It was a lot of pressure, and... and even till the day that I spoke, he, you know—  there was still that, 'Could you not talk earlier? We could just get this done.' You know? And— And, you know, 'It'll be... Um, once you did it, it will be... we'll get what we want.'

IAN (VOICEOVER): Later, Luigi would deny Bevan's story and he'd back up candidate
John Palino's claims that he also had no involvement in a plot to unseat Len Brown.

JOHN PALINO: The relationship between Len and Bevan, I was unaware of it until
after the story broke.

IAN (VOICEOVER): But Bevan Chuang tells a different story about what John Palino told her on election night.

IAN: To get this absolutely clear, did John Palino make it clear to you that he wanted you to
disclose the affair and the details of it?

BEVAN: Yes, he has made it quite clear that he wants me to speak about it so there's enough time for them to approach the office.

IAN: To tell the mayor what?

BEVAN: To tell the mayor that... To tell the mayor that they're aware that he's having an affair.

IAN: To what end? What did he tell you what he wanted to have happen with that information?

BEVAN: So they could go and talk to the mayor and say they're aware that
he's having an affair, there's evidence that he is having an affair, that if he does not want to—does not want this information out, he should step down and maybe perhaps say that he's got a health problem and he cannot do this job any more. Which means that he can still be the hero, because he has won the election, but yet it doesn't make him look bad that he needs to stand down.

IAN: OK. It's a messy business, isn't it?

BEVAN: It is.

IAN: Because you've got John Palino, who stands accused of, um, using underhand methods
to try and undermine the rightful winner of this, of the elections. You've got Luigi, who seems to have taken off and left you in the lurch.

BEVAN: Mm.

IAN: And there's— Then there's you. You say you only did it for love, effectively?

BEVAN: Yes.

IAN: You betrayed a lover for love?

BEVAN: Yes, correct.

IAN: Do you think people will believe you?

BEVAN: Probably not. I-I think that some people will think, you know, she knows what she's doing and that she's just making that up. It's... It is— It is extremely messy business.


********


IAN: It's been said that people will do anything for love, but going as far as revealing all the details of your affair with Len Brown, wasn't that a bit too far? It is, and... and I did not  expect, um, the kind of level of details that are out there.

IAN (VOICEOVER): Intimate details of Len Brown's sexual performance, illicit liaisons in the council offices as revealed by Bevan Chuang on blogger Cameron Slater's website — embarrassing not just to the mayor but the mistress.

IAN: What were you thinking?

BEVAN: The details, as I said, um, was— was never meant to be published, as I was assured.  And, um,... it's always been that they want the details so that they could see what they  could use against the mayor.

IAN (VOICEOVER): 'They' being the journalists who would eventually publish the lurid expose on the internet.

BEVAN: The plan for the affidavit is to cover them so that if they do not get into legal issues. If they were ever questioned about the, um— the authenticity of the story, that that would be used to say, 'No it's not. They did not lie,' that someone actually had provided information.

IAN: So you did it initially for Luigi's love?

BEVAN: Yes.

IAN: And you didn't know Luigi wanted not your love but your affidavit.

BEVAN: Yes.

IAN (VOICEOVER): But in Bevan's eyes, Luigi Wewege's betrayal didn't end there.  In the headlines came reports of erotic photos she snapped of herself for Luigi sent by Luigi to internet journalist Stephen Cook.

IAN: They were naked pictures.

BEVAN: Yes.

IAN: What did you think of him then?

BEVAN: I am disappointed, really disappointed that, um, we were in an intimate  relationship, irrespective of how seriously— seriously he think we were, we were in an intimate relationship. And I'm really disappointed that he would think that it's OK to share
them. I think the act is illegal, anyway.

IAN: What do you say to people who say, 'Why did you send him nude photos?'

BEVAN: We were in a relationship, as I said, irrespective of how serious he think we were,
we were in an intimate relationship. And that, um,... you know— it— it— it's just things that perhaps couples do as a bit of a little sort of play thing.

IAN (VOICEOVER): The scandal made Len Brown's inauguration probably the most sensational in mayoral history.

LEN BROWN: To Shan and to my daughters, who are here, I want to acknowledge your love and support for me on this occasion and over the last three years.

IAN: Did you receive an invitation to the inauguration?

BEVAN: Yes, I have, and I remember putting it on Facebook, saying that I hope that I can go
to this as a local board member.

IAN: But you didn't?

BEVAN: But I didn't show up.

IAN: Why not?

BEVAN: I don't think it's fair to cause that media frenzy, um, and it is his moment for him to be on stage and be the mayor and deliver that. I don't think it's fair. But also, of course, um, you know, I just don't really want to create the chaos, and it might— it will be a lot— it will be very difficult if I run into his family.

IAN: Have you apologised to them?

BEVAN: I have apologised to Len and his family, and, uh, it— I know it's extremely difficult for the— for the daughters. Um, I mean, again, I come in a family where my father himself
is a womaniser. And I understand how difficult it is for the children to get through it, and it's even harder when it's such a public affair. This is not naivety. This is foolishness. This is just stupid for me to-to-to actually said what I said and have caused a lot of harm for the family.

IAN: Would you have done it knowing how it would turn out? Would you have had a  relationship with the mayor if you'd know what the consequences would have been?

BEVAN: I think... I need... My-My problem is still not saying no. I'm not good at saying no,
and it— and— and my 'no' sometimes becomes 'maybe', and that's what I need to be really
affirmed and was that a 'no' is a 'no'. And, you know, not 'Maybe, perhaps, oh well, you know, maybe he understand,' you know? And, you know, the— the learning from this really is be really firm and say no. If it's 'no', then 'no' and just walk away.

IAN: Bevan, what has this affair with Len Brown cost you?

BEVAN: It's... It's quite... quite damaging, of course, with what people— of the image that people have about me. Um, but, as a friend of mine said at the very beginning, um, when you... in— when you are being portrayed as the other woman, it's always harder to come back.

IAN: This has been terribly public too, hasn't it?

BEVAN: And it has been terribly public.

IAN: Did you ever expect anything like this?

BEVAN: No, I did not.

IAN (VOICEOVER): All Bevan Chuang wants now is to have a chance at a normal life.

BEVAN: I've been here for 17 years, and this is my home.

IAN (VOICEOVER): One thing she says she won't be doing is running away from her problems.

BEVAN: This is a story of at least five men and a woman. And... And none of them have came to my rescue when I needed them and, um...

IAN: And all of them wanted something?

BEVAN: And all of them wanted something.

Watch the interview here.


Brown sworn in, brushes off hecklers

Oct 30: Auckland Mayor Len Brown has brushed off hecklers who marred his swearing-in ceremony last night.

A small but vocal group protested outside the Auckland Town Hall, then shouted abuse during the Mayor's speech. (See TVNZ raw video here). Around half a dozen people began heckling from the front row of the audience. They were moved to seats at the rear rather than ejected.

"[They were] a bunch of people who are aggrieved at what’s happened in Glen Innes and Pamure," Mayor Brown told TVNZ's Breakfast this morning - a reference to an ongoing spat over State House redevelopment.

"They’ve been at previous meeting before the election. I’ve previously had to move our council to enable us to sit as a council under the old term."

The protestors' did back Mayor Brown's theory, to a degree. One of their placards read "len brown is the property developers [sic] mouthpiece and puppet".

But others addressed the Mayor's two-year affair with Bevan Chuang. One protestor, Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board candidate and "Panmure-Tamaki activist" Patrick O'Meara said, "Can you desecrate the Ngati Whatua room like that and get away with it?" (Mayor Brown has refused to confirm or deny reports on specific locations where he conducted his affair with Ms Chuang.

Poll shows support
A OneNews-ColmarBrunton released last night showed 55% of Aucklanders want Mayor Brown to stay on and 58% around the country agree.

37% of Aucklanders and 30% in the rest of the country want him gone

Around 10% don't, or had no opinion.

Spiritual dimension
Mayor Brown, who posed with his wife and daughters at the swearing-in ceremony, told TVNZ, "I don’t want to overly spiritualise this, but I’m not just answerable to my wife and my family;  I’m answerable to my God. For those who don’t believe, they might not understand that. But I do." Some commentators say Mayor Brown affair has alienated his Christian conservative power base in South Auckland.

No put-up or shut-up challenge
A number of commentators, including NBR columnist Matthew Hooton, have called on Whaleoil blogger to produce evidence of alleged further marital misconduct.

This morning, Mayor Brown said, "I’m not going to get into conjecture. I’m not challenging anyone to do anything. The only challenge I’ve got at this point I to get on with the job I was elected to do."


Len Brown affair: Palino camp faces new accusation over pressuring Chuang

Oct 27: The Palino camp faces new accusations around its involvement with the Len Brown Affair.

Bevan Chuang says Palino campaign aide Luigi Wewege used nude photos of her to force her to go public with the story of her affair with the mayor.

Ms Chuang took the photos of herself, using her cellphone, then sent them to Mr Wewege during her on-again, off-again affair with the Palino staffer.

Mr Wewege emailed three of the photos to Whaileoil blog reporter Stephen Cook, Mr Cook says.

Mr Cook received the email during the week before the story broke of Ms Chuang's two-year affair with Len Brown, he says - a time when Ms Chuang was waivering on whether to go public.

Mr Palino told the Sunday Star Times he has nothing to add to a statement he released to media last weekend, which said "Suggestions now that I . . . am somehow orchestrating some grand right-wing conspiracy to unseat Len after the election are so wrong and so absurd they do not stand up to even the remotest test of common sense".

Mr Wewege arrived in San Francisco yesterday.

A new interview with the Herald on Sunday, published today, does not touch on whether he pressured Ms Chuang with photos.

Mr Wewege is vague when asked what John Palino knew, and when replyiing,   "I don't necessarily want to go into who knew what and at what time because at the end of the day, I've essentially passed on information and had the country's whole attention."


Oct 25: Slater needs to front up - Hooton

Controversial Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater told RadioLIVE yesterday that he knows of at least three other women who are likely to come forward claiming to have had affairs with Auckland mayor Len Brown. This morning, his blog is promising “more than you ever wanted to know” over the long weekend, hinting that the New Zealand Herald or Herald on Sunday have important new information to reveal.

Political commentator and NBR columnist Matthew Hooton has challenged Mr Slater to produce his evidence of the alleged affairs.

"It would be strange were Mr Slater to withhold information which, for that reason, is now clearly in the public interest when he went public with information about Bevan Chuang, which at least arguably wasn’t," Mr Hooton writes.


Brewer snubs mayor, tells aides he should resign - report

Oct 22: Auckland councillor Cameron Brewer cancelled a meeting with Len Brown last week and sent a text message to two of the mayor's aides saying he should resign, according to a NZ Herald report.

Mr Brewer - who ran unopposed in the Orakei ward - was named as challenger John Palino's running mate late in the campaign, meaning he would have served as deputy mayor had Mr Palino been elected.

The Herald says Mr Brewer was due to meet with Mr Brown, but "snubbed" the mayor after news of his affair broke.

Mr Brewer confirmed to the paper he had been in communication with members of Mr Brown's team but said communications between staff were private.

The paper says Orakei councillor also sent texts to the mayor's chief of staff Phil Wilson and his communications strategist, David Lewis, saying the mayor should resign.

Mr Brewer told NBR ONLINE he will not comment while an independent inquiry into Mr Brown's affair is being conducted.

Job reference not abuse of power, Brown says
Meanwhile, mayor Brown yesterday made his first public appearance since admitting his affair, touring a show home in Ellerslie.

Asked about his reference, which helped Bevan Chuang gain a job at the Council-run Auckland Art Gallery, Mr Brown said it was not usual for him to provide character references for people he knew, "I did not abuse my position of power, there will be many, many people around Auckland who have received similar letters of recommendation,'' he said. The reference was provided early in the pair's relationship.

Master of own fate
"For all of those involved in this I bear none of them ill will," Mayor Brown said. "I am the master of my own fate and it was my decision to basically open up the opportunity for someone. I'm having to pay for that particularly stupid piece of poor judgment, as are others around me and my family."


Auckland Mayoral office independent review scope revealed

Monday October 21: Auckland Council Chief Executive Doug McKay has asked EY to conduct an independent review of the use of council resources in the mayoral office.

The review will examine the following matters:

  • any use of council resources within the Office of the Mayor, in respect of the Mayor’s relationship with Ms Chuang, that contravenes council policies (eg payments and procurement);
  • any improper preferential treatment in relation to Ms Chuang’s engagement as an employee, contractor or an advisor within the Auckland Council Group; and
  • any other issues that the reviewers or chief executive considers relate to, or arise out of, the above matters.
  • The review will be reported back to the chief executive as quickly as possible, in no more than four calendar weeks.

The scope of the independent review is attached.

The review has the support of the mayoral office which will cooperate fully with it.

Mr McKay said it is important that the public has full confidence in the council’s processes and that all expenditure and activity is open to public scrutiny.

Mr McKay confirmed last week he was not aware of any specific information or anything contrary to the Mayor’s assurances in public and to him in person.

The review is not specific to the elected members’ code of conduct but will cover council policies and procedures. The review will provide background information should any code of conduct review be initiated.

Auckland Council and Ernst and Young will not make any public comment on the substance or progress of the review until its findings are released.


Monday Oct 21 - EARLIER: Beleaguered Auckland mayor Len Brown will miss his first scheduled engagement of the week.

Mr Brown – who faces an inquiry into his extra-marital affair with Bevan Chuang – was scheduled to attend dairy giant Fonterra's Milk for Schools event this morning at Auckland's Three Kings Primary School.

However, his chief press secretary, Glyn Jones, told NBR ONLINE he will skip that event to attend the first day of formal induction for councillors following the Auckland Council election result.

"The mayor decided that would be the best use of his time this morning.

"Apart from that event, the diary is unchanged."

At 2.30pm, the mayor will attend the official opening of the second James Hardie Smarter Small Show Home in Ellerslie.

Just before 8am tomorrow and Wednesday, Mr Brown will make his fortnightly phone calls to Radio Tarana and 95bfm, respectively.

Mr Brown skipped Prime Minister John Key's Olympic gala dinner last Thursday.

Scope of inquiry widened
Meanwhile, Auckland Council's independent investigation will be widened to include Mr Brown's job reference for Bevan Chuang, which helped her land a job at the council-run Auckland Art Gallery.

The review, first announced by council chief executive Doug McKay last Thursday, is already set to assess Mr Brown's spending during his two-year affair with Ms Chuang.

The final terms of reference into the inquiry, and who will conduct it are expected to be announced in the next 48 hours.


Palino staffer tipped me off about txts - Slater

Sunday Oct 20: Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater has revealed he was approached by Luigi Wewege - a staff member on John Palino's Mayoral campaign who himself was in a relationship with Ms Chuang (by her account. Mr Wewege has not commented).

Smalley:  We'll get to that.  Can you confirm it was the Palino campaign that alerted you to this?

Slater: No I can't confirm that because I'd received reports from many different places.

Smalley:  So how did you find out, what was your principle source?

Slater: On look there's rumours flying round about Len Brown for a long long time.

Smalley: You can't go factually into a situation unless it's a confirmed source.

Cameron: So I was approached initially by Mr Wewege and we said look I think I've got something here.  I said well put me in touch with the person.  I still at that point demanded that I have an affidavit.  You can't run around with these sorts of things and stand them up.

Smalley: So Mr Wewege approached you?

Slater: Yeah.

Mr Slater later told NBR, "I acknowledged that a staffer tipped me off to some dirty texts. Until the Monday before releasing the story I had no idea it involved an affair, it was merely a stalking, inappropriate behaviour and dirty texting story."

Meanwhile, Mr Palino has spoken out about a late-night carpark meeting between himself and Ms Chuang, which took place two days before news broke of her affair with Len Brown.

Mr Palino, who is holidaying in Melbourne, sent an email to media saying Ms Chuang initiated the meeting. She wanted to discuss threatening text messages both had been receiving. (The identity of the person who sent the text messages, has yet to be revealed. The text messages warned against revealing the affair to media).

The failed Mayoral challenger has also further clarified what he knew about Mr Brown's relationship with Ms Chuang.

"Bevan has never disclosed to me the full nature of her relationship with the Mayor and only ever indicated she received persistent and unwanted propositions from the Mayor," Mr Palino says.

Mr Chang says the carpark meeting between herself and Mr Palino was to discuss revealing information to Mayor Brown about the affair - and the possibility Mayor Brown could then resign, using health issues as a pretext.

In a new statement on his website, Cameron Slater says he did not share details of the Whaleoil story with John Palino, Mr Palino's campaign manager John Slater (Cameron Slater's father) or any other party.

Cameron Slater also says neither he nor Whaleoil writer Stephen Cook got paid for the story, nor was Ms Chaung paid to tell her story.

Watch Mr Slater's appearance on TV3's The Nation and read a transcript here.

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TIMELINE

Tues Oct 15 (afternoon): Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater publishes exerts from a sworn statement by C&R local board candidate Bevan Chuang (32), who says she had a two-year affair with Auckland Mayor Len Brown.
Tues Oct 15 (evening): Mayor Brown confirms the affair. In a Campbell Live interview, Mayor Brown apologises for the affair, but says it is a personal matter and that he wants to remain Mayor
Wed Oct 16: Council confims Mayor Brown provided a reference for Ms Chuang when she successfully applied for a job at a Council-run art gallery.
Wed Oct 16: Ms Chaung says after her relationship with Mr Brown ended, she had an affair with Palino campaign staffer Luigi Wewege. She says Mr Wewege pressured her to reveal details of her affair with Mayor Brown
Thurs Oct 15: Auckland Council CEO Doug McKay confirms an inquiry into Len Brown's spending during the two-year affair. Mayor Brown denies any inappropriate spending
Thurs Oct 16: Mayor Brown skips a dinner event hosted by the PM
Fri Oct 17:  The PM provides tacit support for Mayor Brown, saying it was understandable he is not attending engagements and that "I am sure he will be back on the horse as soon as he can."
Sat Oct 20: Bevan Chuang reveals she had a late-night carpark meeting with John Palino. She says they discussed whether Mr Brown might resign; he says  they discussed threatening text messages both had received
Sat Oct 20: Cameron Slater reveals it was Luigi Wewege who tipped him off about the affair


Palino met Chuang two days before news broke of her affair with Brown 

Saturday Oct 18: Auckland Mayoral challenger John Palino met with Bevan Chuang two days before news broke of her affair with Len Brown.

Ms Chuang told the NZ Herald she met with Mr Palino in a cinema carpark.

The pair discussed revealing information to Mr Brown about the affair, and the possibility he might mighty resign, claiming poor health, she claims.

She says the Sunday night, October 13 meeting began at 10pm and ended at 11.30pm..

Mr Palino's campaign manager, John Slater, confirmed the October 13 meeting took place, but said it was just a "general chit-chat".

Ms Chuang says she previously met with Mr Palino on May 15 in a cafe, and again a fortnight later at the candidate's campaign office.

Mr Palino, who is travelling in Melbourne, has made no comment on about the October 13 meeting.

He has previously acknowledged meeting with Ms Chuang (a local board candidate for the conservative C&R), but says he had no knowledge of her affair with Mr Brown, nor her alleged affair with Luigi Wewege, a member of challenger John Palino’s campaign team whom Ms Chuang claims pressured her for months to reveal the affair with Mayor Brown.

Meeting with PM stuck to business
Prime Minister John Key says a meeting with Mr Brown yesterday "pretty much stuck to business."

Issues around the Mayor's extra-marital affair were not discussed.

"It is not something I'm involved in, not something I want to be involved in, not something I want to pass judgment on," Mr Key told media after the Friday meeting.

He did not think it unusual that the Mayor Brown did not show at the Prime Minister's Olympic Gala dinner on Thursday night.

"In fairness he is dealing with the fallout of a significant issue; not unusual for public figures when they face crises, they go to ground a bit," Mr Key said.

"I am sure he will be back on the horse as soon as he can.".


Brown skips PM's dinner

Friday Oct 17: Beleaguered Auckland Mayor Len Brown skipped last night’s Prime Minister’s Olympic gala dinner.

Mr Brown and his wife, Shan Inglis, were scheduled to attend last night’s dinner at Auckland’s Pullman Hotel but cancelled before the function began.

Glyn Jones, Mr Brown’s chief press secretary, told NBR ONLINE the mayor has skipped some minor functions this week.

“Any important speaking engagement – rather than just going somewhere for dinner, which is what happened last night with the Olympic dinner – he’ll be attending.

"So it’s pretty much business as usual.”

Yesterday afternoon, Auckland Council chief executive Doug McKay announced an independent review would ensure no mayoral funds were used in Mr Brown’s extra-marital affair with Bevan Chuang – a woman who he endorsed last year with a character reference for an Auckland Art Gallery job.

In this morning’s NZ Herald, Ms Chuang said she was confident Mr Brown would be cleared by the council’s spending inquiry.

Auckland’s councillors are sworn in at a ceremony in the Auckland Town Hall’s Great Hall on October 29.

Independent review
Auckland council chief executive Doug McKay says he will undertake an independent review to ensure no mayoral office funds were used in Auckland Mayor Len Brown’s extra-marital relationship with Bevan Chuang.

Mr McKay says Mr Brown has no council credit card and all invoices and payments from the mayoral budget are checked and approved by the chief of staff. 

He says Mr Brown has already assured him no mayoral office funds were used in the relationship. 


Chuang job reference creates difficulty for Brown - Edwards

Thurs Oct 16:
It’s becoming more difficult for Len Brown to extricate himself from the Bevan Chuang affair, political scientist Bryce Edwards says.

The office of the re-elected Auckland mayor has confirmed to NBR ONLINE Mr Brown provided a character reference to Ms Chuang in July last year, for a sponsorship coordinator role at the council-run Auckland Art Gallery – a job she subsequently got.

In a statement, the mayor’s office says at Mr Brown’s request, his diary manager responded by email to say the mayor “highly recommended Bevan.”

Commentator Bryce Edwards, a University of Otago politics lecturer, told NBR ONLINE Mr Brown’s enemies are already claiming comparisons with former ACC minister Nick Smith, who resigned after news broke he provided a reference for friend Bronwyn Pullar, who was involved in a privacy scandal with the corporation.

It will now be difficult for Mr Brown to claim the scandal is entirely a private matter, Dr Edwards says.

“It’s certainly the more tangible of the allegations made against him so far.

“The chance of him rehabilitating himself after this is a challenge and it’s in the balance.”

Palino links
This morning, The Herald has revealed that Ms Chuang says she was also in an sporadic intimate relationship with Luigi Wewege, a member of challenger John Palino’s campaign team, as well as Mr Brown and that Mr Wewege has been pressuring her for months to reveal the affair with Mayor Brown.

Chaung - "I feel used"
The revelation comes as Ms Chuang - who is Facebook friends with an NBR reporter - took to the social network to say "I feel used, abused and manipulated by people I thought were my friends who have been taking snippets of what I have said to advance their own political agendas and much-racking cliams. And would Cam Slater and Palino's team PLEASE stop texting and calling me. This is harrassment!"

At the time, Dr Edwards said the development "absolutely" helps the embattled Mayor's cause, and increases the odds of his political survival.

"This shifts the debate quite strongly in Len Brown’s favour because there will be sympathy for him because it’s becoming more apparent how politically-motivated this scandal is," Dr Edwards tells NBR ONLINE.

"This is no longer simply an issue about personal character, it’s about wider political agendas," he says.

"The political right are really vulnerable at the moment to a backlash from the public who will see this as very tawdry and debased."

On Tuesday, as the scandal broke, John Palino issued a statement to media saying he had no knowledge of the affair or who was involved. Last night he said he also had no knowledge of an intimate relationship between Mr Wewege and Ms Chuang.

Whaleoil turns on Chuang
The allegations Ms Chuang made to the NZ Herald about alleged pressure from the Palino camp were the first time she had talked to media outside Cameron Slater's Whaleoil blog.

Ironically, it also led Whaleoil to attack Ms Chuang's credibility, saying she has changed her story about whether she was pressured by by Mr Wewege.

Arguably, Whaleoil's accusation that Ms Chuang is subject to backtracking and revising her version of events undermine's it's latest revelation: that Mayor Brown allegedly acted as a personal referee, helping Ms Chuang land a council job.

Will it stop here? For her part, Ms Chuang says on her Facebook post, "I don't intend to make any more public statements in the near future to anybody."

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