Andrew Falloon lewd text scandal: Four women bring allegations, former leadership was unaware

Newshub understands four women in total have now come forward with similar allegations to either the media or National Party about Andrew Falloon - and the former leadership say they were unaware of what was going on. 

Falloon resigned as MP for Rangitata effectively immediately on Tuesday morning after pressure from National leader Judith Collins, amid allegations about the ex-MP sending inappropriate images to young women. 

Collins has accused Falloon of lying to her and the police by not coming clean about the extent of the allegations. 

"I believe he's lied to a lot of people," she told reporters on Tuesday. "It's very obvious he's lied to police and a lot of other people."

In early July, police investigated a complaint that Falloon sent an unsolicited explicit image. They say it didn't meet the threshold to prosecute. It turns out he sent a pornographic text to a teenager - 19 years old.

The 37-year-old MP was drunk; it was 2am in the morning. It was not an isolated incident, with the National Party saying it's a pattern of behaviour. 

"I'm sorry to say I believe we are going to have more women come forward," Collins said. 

Newshub understands four women in total have now come forward with similar allegations to either the media or National Party.

Collins said it was pornography involving females. 

Newshub has been told details of two of the images sent to a woman this month, but we have chosen not to publish it to prevent further harm to the women involved.

"I have spoken to police," Collins said. "Police, in light of new information, have advised me that they are likely to reopen their first investigation."

Ex-National MP Andrew Falloon.
Ex-National MP Andrew Falloon. Photo credit: Newshub

Police won't confirm if the reason they closed the first investigation was because Falloon told them he'd accidentally left his phone unattended at a party and a friend sent the images. 

"His story had changed already because it had been investigated by police where he'd had a story around how this was apparently an accident," Collins said. 

The National Party says no one in the leadership - past or present - knew about the police investigation at the time.

Former National Party deputy leader Nikki Kaye said on Tuesday she had no idea. 

"No... Not that I'm aware of."

Former leader Simon Bridges also confirmed he wasn't aware. 

"No I wasn't."

Apparently no one in the National Party caucus knew what Falloon was up to either.

National Party deputy leader Gerry Brownlee said he was "disgusted". 

"I've got a daughter who's a similar age to the lady who came forward - wouldn't want this happening to her."

Mark Mitchell described Falloon's actions as "totally unacceptable". 

Chris Bishop said it was "appalling". 

Parmjeet Parmar said it was "totally unacceptable". 

Brett Hudson said it was "disgraceful behaviour". 

Falloon's family also appeared to be unaware.

The National Party's mental health spokesperson Matt Doocey said Falloon was dropped at his parents' house but when Newshub visited he wasn't there.

His mother said the former MP was not doing very well and she said was "not great". 

"I have no comment to make," she said. 

On Monday when Falloon's Rangitata constituents found out he was stepping down, it was greeted with shock and sadness. 

But on Tuesday, upon learning about the indecent behaviour, it's pure disgust. 

"Disgusting, absolutely," one person told Newshub. 

Another described it as "abhorrent" and "just awful". 

Falloon had planned to stay on until the election. But with more women coming forward, Collins made it clear he had no place in her caucus. He quit effective immediately.

"Andrew Falloon is as now no longer a member of Parliament," Collins said. "I acted very quickly."

Except she didn't - Collins' office found out last Friday. She sat on it all weekend. But Collins said she wanted to speak to Falloon in person. 

"I am not going to address issues like this by phone or email or text. That is not the way to address serious issues."

Instead of taking action, Collins played up to the cameras in photo ops and did the weekend current affairs shows. 

She rejected the suggestion she didn't want it to overshadow her weekend media. 

"No, I wanted to deal with him directly. I look people in the eye when I make decisions like this."

The Prime Minister's office received the original complaint on Wednesday. Jacinda Ardern's chief of staff waited a day before alerting the Prime Minister. 

Ardern conceded they could have acted faster. 

"Could we have picked it up on the Thursday while I was in Invercargill? Perhaps."

Perhaps, in retrospect, everyone could have moved a bit quicker to sort out the Andrew Falloon debacle.

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