Deon Swiggs not ruling out return to local body politics

Sally Buck's resignation from the Linwood-Central-Heathcote Community Board could provide an...
Sally Buck's resignation from the Linwood-Central-Heathcote Community Board could provide an opportunity for Deon Swiggs to return to local body politics. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Embattled former Christchurch city councillor Deon Swiggs has not ruled out a return to local body politics after a potential route to re-election opened up.

Sally Buck announced her resignation from the Linwood-Central-Heathcote Community Board due to ill health this week.

A by-election to fill her vacancy on the community board will be held later this year and is estimated to cost between $60,000 and $50,000.

Swiggs, who was ousted from his council seat in last year’s local body elections following allegations he sent “grossly inappropriate” messages to youths, told Star News he has not ruled out running for the vacant community board member seat. It would be the same board table he used to occupy as a councillor.

“I would never rule anything out but, as I have said, I have not thought too much about it,” he said.

He lost his Central Ward council seat to incumbent Jake McLellan by 1188 votes after allegations made by three people, some as young as 13-years-old, claimed Swiggs had sent inappropriate messages to them.

Supporters of Swiggs lodged a petition in the Christchurch District Court, arguing the allegations were released by the Canterbury Youth Worker’s Collective to sabotage his campaign.

Jake McLellan. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Jake McLellan. Photo: Geoff Sloan
They also argued McLellan’s campaign team had orchestrated the allegations, alleging McLellan and his team had a hand in the allegations being leaked to media. The allegations appeared in The Press on September 20, the same day voting papers were sent out.

However, the accusation against McLellan and his campaign team was dropped during the closing submissions of the trial.

Judge Paul Kellar also ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove the accusations against the Canterbury Youth Worker’s Collective.

Swiggs refused to comment on the prospect of having to sit on the same board as McLellan should he be elected to fill Buck’s vacant seat.

“I’m not going to go into that.”

McLellan said he has no issues with the prospect of potentially sharing a community board table with Swiggs.

“Well it’s democracy, I have no animosity or hard feelings to Mr Swiggs whatsoever, and if he is elected, he is elected,” McLellan said.

 

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