A Taupo district councillor, widely tipped to be the town's next mayor, allegedly struck his wife in the mouth, cutting her lip, after a "week-long argument".
Rex Mincher pleaded not guilty to a charge of assaulting his wife, Shona, when he appeared in Taupo District Court last week.
The charge relates to an incident between Mincher, 50, and his wife at their Taupo house 10 days ago.
Shona Mincher told The Dominion Post yesterday that the alleged assault happened after the couple had a "week-long argument".
She suffered a cut lip when her husband hit her on the mouth with a "backhander", she said.
The couple, who have been married for 10 years but are not currently living together, had sought advice to mend problems in their relationship, she said.
She did not wish to comment further.
Mayor Rick Cooper said he had heard "rumours" about the alleged assault.
"I'm not sure what is going on . . . I heard rumours but didn't know if they were true or false. I've tried to contact Rex but he has not returned calls.
"If I can support him and his wife in any way, I will do anything I can."
Mr Cooper said Mincher had been an "extremely capable councillor" during his first term.
He was elected to the council in 2010 on a tidal wave of change in which only two sitting councillors were returned.
After the election, Mr Cooper described the newly elected group of seven councillors as the "dream team".
Mincher also stood for mayor, getting 1360 votes. After initial confusion about whether he would put his name forward for the position, Mincher was later considered responsible for splitting the vote, allowing Mr Cooper to hold off nearest challenger Mark Burton by a mere 139 votes.
Mincher is a well-known businessman in Taupo as a former owner of wine and food store The Merchant of Taupo, and director of Charles Investment Group. He also had a half-share in Pallet Packaging.
Mincher has been remanded on bail to reappear at a status hearing later this month.
- The Dominion Post
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