A National Party candidate who ran at the 2020 election is no longer a party member — having resigned last night after allegations from a former partner that he impersonated and shared images of her online.
Jake Bezzant was National's candidate for Upper Harbour, taking over from Paula Bennett in what was thought to be a safe seat, however he lost to Labour's Vanushi Walters in October.
On a podcast named Whips, Chains and Brains released earlier this week, a woman named Tarryn alleges Bezzant, "used to impersonate me online and would make snapchats and dating sites and things and would engage in online sex as me and would send nudes images and videos of me".
"That was happening throughout the last two and a half years, and we obviously split up and then I found out in the last few weeks he's still doing it."
Bezzant told 1 NEWS there was "two sides to every story".
Tarryn said on the podcast she recently asked on social media if anyone had been sent any inappropriate messages from her, and a person sent her images they had been sent.
Tarryn alleged Bezzant had made a screen recording of material she had sent him previously.
"After the first time it happened, I obviously didn't send him anything ever again," she claimed.
A National Party spokesperson said they were first made aware of the podcast "and the allegations and behaviour it mentions, late yesterday morning".
"We looked into the matter, and Mr Bezzant is no longer a member of the National Party."
1 NEWS understands he was no longer a National member as of yesterday evening.
1 NEWS attempted to call Bezzant, however he provided a statement instead, saying there was "two sides to every story".
"Personal relationship break ups sometimes get messy," he said.
"There is more than just her and I involved so I am going to respect that and so I am not going to discuss it.
"This needs to be seen in the context of a relationship break up.
"I have a new chapter in life, enjoying being back in the private sector.
"I am not going to put myself forward for candidacy at this point. Really enjoying being back in the private sector. No further comment."
Police would not say if he'd been subject to a complaint or investigation.
Bezzant's involvement in a technology parking company in which a National Party post that said he co-founded, was disputed by a listed founder. Bezzant told Business Desk that he had a "huge involvement" in growing the business from inception.
National investigated after being told about the issue in June last year, telling Stuff it accepted his time at the company. He was the Chief Executive Officer of the company, with his party blurb saying he "helped to grow the company from five staff to the world’s largest transport parking technology company".
Bezzant was criticised by Green's Ricardo Menendez March in December last year for 'liking' a post he described as a "racist online attack", after Bezzant liked a post on Twitter that described Green MP Golriz Ghahraman as "some Mexican" and a parasite - when she was quoted saying, "young people deserve to have a say in their future".
Bezzant was placed at 57 on the National list, with the party previously placing seemingly-safe seats lower down on the list.
A National Party press release sent out when Bezzant was selected as the Upper Harbour candidate stated that Bezzant's then-partner was named Tarryn and he had a keen interest in cricket.