Is HCC candidate posing as woman online?
A Hamilton council candidate has been accused of posing as a woman online to make attacks on mayoral candidate Ewan Wilson.
But Steve McLennan denied he was the mysterious Wanda Lee, who has appeared on Facebook to smear Mr Wilson.
"Wanda" joined the site three days ago and since then has posted links to a week-old Facebook page, Ewan Wilson - The Unauthorised Biography, on several Hamilton City Council candidates' online campaign pages.
Mr McLennan confirmed he was the author of the Wilson biography but denied posing as Wanda online.
The Facebook page provides links to historic news coverage of Mr Wilson, with Mr McLennan's commentary added. Mr Wilson said he suspected Mr McLennan but had no evidence.
The web page is the latest move in an increasingly dirty race, with several complaints to electoral officials, widespread vandalism, and increasingly bitter online battles raging between candidates and supporters.
"I don't know but not for a second do I believe that McLennan, [Ray] Stark and Julie Hardaker haven't been up to their necks in this," Mr Wilson said.
Several New Council New Direction candidates have "liked" Wanda Lee's online work but member Mr McLennan denied the group created her.
He said the biography page was retaliation for Mr Wilson posting a news story about Mr McLennan's involvement in an oil spill.
"For the record, Ewan has made claims about me that he can't back up on his website, so all I'm doing is reminding people what's in the public domain and that his 'errors of judgment' aren't limited to a single event 18 years ago."
But Mr Wilson said Mr McLennan's Facebook posts were "an attempt to rehash and relitigate every negative story about me, going back 20 years".
Links posted by Wanda Lee remain on Facebook campaign pages for New Council New Direction, and mayoral rival Ms Hardaker.
The NCND campaign page administrator endorsed Wanda's post: "Couldn't agree more Wanda. Mr Wilson is ... overloaded with habits which are less than ethically hygienic."
Fellow NCND candidate Garry Mallett said he did not know Wanda Lee but had seen her posts.
"She sounds like a real person."
Asked whether she endorsed the content by Mr McLennan that Wanda Lee had posted a link to on her campaign page, Ms Hardaker did not respond.
Mr Wilson said the attempts to run him down were a late sideshow.
"This smacks of last-minute desperation from the Hardaker and New Council New Direction camps. We want to focus on the issues," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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