National Party candidate Jake Bezzant resigns as ex-girlfriend alleges inappropriate behaviour

National Party candidate Jake Bezzant resigns as ex-girlfriend alleges inappropriate behaviour

A 2020 National candidate has resigned from the party after a podcast alleged he had been posing as his ex-girlfriend sending inappropriate messages.

Newshub understands Upper Harbour candidate Jake Bezzant tendered his resignation to the party on Tuesday night.  

The first episode of the podcast 'Whips, Chains and Brains', was released on Spotify on May 31.

One of the hosts, Tarryn, says she was in a relationship with Bezzant and accuses him of inappropriate behaviour.

"Jake Bezzant who is involved in the National Party in New Zealand used to impersonate me online and would make Snapchats and dating sites and things and would engage in, like, online sex as me and would send nude images and videos of me," she says.

"That was happening throughout the last two-and-a-half years but then we obviously split up and then I found out in the last few weeks that he's still doing it, so we kind of want to talk about it."

Bezzant did not answer Newshub's calls but sent a statement saying there were "two sides to every story."

"Personal relationship break ups sometimes get messy," he said.

"There is more than just her and I involved so I am not going to discuss it. This needs to be seen in the context of a relationship break-up."

Bezzant told Newshub he'd quit the party.

"I am not going to put myself forward for candidacy at this point. Really enjoying being back in the private sector," he said. "I am no longer a member."

Bezzant has still been active in party events following the election. As recently as Sunday he was attending public meetings in Upper Harbour alongside National MP Michael Woodhouse.

National Party candidate Jake Bezzant resigns as ex-girlfriend alleges inappropriate behaviour

A National Party spokesperson said they were made aware of the allegations on Tuesday. 

"We were first made aware of the podcast, and the allegations and behaviour it mentions, late yesterday morning. We looked into the matter, and Mr Bezzant is no longer a member of the National Party."

Tarryn said she and Bezzant were in a long-distance relationship while he was in the United States while he was the chief executive of the American arm of tech company Parking Sense.

Tarryn said while they were apart they would send intimate images to each other over Snapchat, which deletes images after they've been viewed.

"I knew he had screen-shotted some of the things I'd sent him because you get a notification. I had asked him not to, but at the same time I also never expected anything negative to come from it.

"When he was in the States, I got a message from this guy I knew who said, 'Hey, I think there's a fake Snapchat going around about you'."

Tarryn said she only sent the images to Bezzant but he denied he'd been using the images. According to Tarryn, he asked her: "Are you sure you didn't send it to anyone else?"

"When I made it really clear that I knew it was him, I told him to cut the shit, he said to me that he thought I was cheating on him and that he felt like he needed proof," she said.

Tarryn said she recently suspected he was again impersonating her again on social media.

She asked her followers whether anyone had received inappropriate messages - a number of people confirmed they'd been sent explicit images.

"One sent me images they had been sent... There was kind of set photos that Jake used to use of me."

Bezzant, who sat at number 57 on National's list, ran in former deputy leader Paula Bennett's Upper Harbour electorate following her retirement from politics. He lost the seat to Labour's Vanushi Walters.