Candidate quits after explicit images leaked
Local Elections 2013
A Christchurch community board candidate has quit the race after a personal conversation on a social media application was leaked online.
Explicit photographs and written messages included in the conversation were posted on an online blog this morning.
The People's Choice candidate Paul Findlay withdrew from the Hagley-Ferrymead Community Board race today after the posts between him and what appeared to be a 15-year-old were revealed.
The identity of the other person involved in the conversation is not known.
The blogger who posted the images and messages online told The Press that the teenager involved in the conversation had contacted a friend, who then passed on the information to the blogger.
The blogger said the conversation was "very recent".
In a statement, Findlay said he made a comment he regretted ''in the heat of the moment''.
''This city has bigger issues in this election than this incident. For the sake of my team and the sake of the real issues that Christchurch is facing, I am withdrawing my candidacy," he said.
In a second statement released this afternoon, Findlay said he agreed his actions were wrong.
"I have withdrawn as a community board candidate and resigned my membership of The People's Choice Inc. I have no further comment to make."
Detective Inspector David Long said police had not received a formal complaint about the incident, but were aware of the material that had been posted online.
"An assessment is being completed as to whether any criminal offending may be involved. If this is established a criminal investigation will be commenced," he said.
The People's Choice chairman Paul McMahon declined to comment and referred The Press to the party's campaign manager, Sara Epperson.
Epperson said the party respected Findlay's decision to stand down.
''We hold high expectations for our candidates and for the future of the city, and Mr Findlay sees his situation as a distraction from what we would like to achieve."
She said neither Findlay nor The People's Choice would make any further comment on the issue.
Epperson added that the party held high expectations for its candidates.
"We do not excuse or condone his actions in any way, and that is why we have accepted his resignation.”
Findlay also resigned today from the board of Q-Topia, a social support group for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex youth in Canterbury.
In a statement, the board said it understood Findlay had engaged in an online conversation with a person through social media.
The person had not identified their age at the beginning of the conversation, but was later identified as likely to have been aged 15.
"We understand that at no time did any interaction progress beyond the online environment," the statement said.
The board said it had every confidence that Findlay's work with them was undertaken with the "utmost integrity".
"We respect Paul's decision to remove himself from the board, and believe that this decision has been undertaken to ensure that the Q-topia standards are not affected in any way."
Findlay, then 24, unsuccessfully stood for the community board at the 2010 elections, receiving 5554 votes.
He is single and does not have any children.
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