New councillor admits complaint lodged against him over letter

The council no longer has authority or jurisdiction over ex-councillor Deon Swiggs' actions. - Photo: RNZ / Logan Church

The newly-elected council member for Christchurch central has admitted to having a code of conduct complaint lodged against him while serving on a community board.

Jake McLellan, a People's Choice/Labour candidate ousted sitting councillor Deon Swiggs on Saturday by about 1000 votes in the city's Central ward. Mr McLellan polled 1982 votes to Mr Swiggs' 904.

Mr Swiggs' campaign was marred by claims he sent inappropriate social media messages to people as young as 13, and insisted on hugs instead of handshakes.

There is still no indication from the Christchurch City Council when it will decide what happens with the code of conduct investigation into Deon Swiggs.

Before the election, a retired judge decided the allegations were worthy of further investigation and referred another matter to the police.

In a statement at the weekend Mr Swiggs said he was waiting to see if the investigation would proceed and was talking with his lawyer about what he saw as a flawed process.

His defeat leaves the question of what will happen to the investigation up in the air.

As an ex-councillor the council no longer has authority or jurisdiction over his actions.

Meanwhile, Jake McLellan, who benefited from the revelations surrounding Mr Swiggs, propelling him to victory, has revealed to RNZ that he had received a complaint when he served on the local community board.

The 27-year-old disclosed the information in an interview with RNZ this morning.

"I received a complaint around some letters that I sent out, it essentially didn't go anywhere.''

Mr McLellan, whose mother is acting Labour Party president Tracy McLellan, said it was over a year ago.

"The suggestion was that I used council resources, which was totally incorrect and the matter was dropped.''

The council's head of community support, governance and partnerships, John Filsell, confirmed the complaint but had a slightly different version of how the matter was resolved.

He said the complaint was from a member of the public, about Jake McLellan's use of the Christchurch City Council logo with the Labour Party logo on a letter asking, amongst other things, which way the recipient voted in the general election.

Mr Filsell said the complaint was made in July 2018.

"It was resolved informally by correspondence between Jake and the chief executive, culminating in Jake advising the chief executive he had stopped distribution of the letter.

"No further action was taken.''