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Featured Image Credit: Sam Uffindell/Facebook
A new National MP for New Zealand, who recently revealed he was a school bully, says he's a 'changed man'.
The Tauranga MP who joined Parliament in June, fronted the media on Tuesday (August 9) morning after it was revealed he joined a group of boys who beat up a 13-year-old at King’s College boarding school.
This assault resulted in Sam Uffindell being asked to leave King’s College when he was 16 years old.
Uffindell’s past was not disclosed to National Party leader Christopher Luxon or deputy Nicola Willis. They were only recently informed with the information.
“We raided them with three other students and I punched a student numerous times in the arm and the body and they were hurt during that experience and subsequently I was asked to leave Kings’ the next day,” Uffindell said at a press conference.
Uffindell said he’s sorry for the emotional and physical toll the victim had to suffer but claims he is a different person.
He said he feels he has matured and developed empathy over the years, adding: “I am a long way from the person I was 20-odd years ago.”
Although Luxon states he and Willis should’ve been told about Uffindell’s past, he stuck by Uffindell’s side until more reports of bullying came to light overnight.
The Tauranga MP has now been stood down with a pending investigation into fresh allegations of bullying behaviour in his university years.
Uffindell has rebutted the allegations, claiming he 'enjoyed a student lifestyle' while at the University of Otago.
A former flatmate of Uffindell has alleged to RNZ that he was a bully and on one occasion he smashed on a door and yelled obscenities, causing the flatmate to flee the flat and climb out of their window.
“I feared for my safety, I was scared,” said the former flatmate.
When Luxon was asked if he still trusts Uffindell, he stated: "I have up until last night."
However, Luxon would not say what action was going to be taken in the investigation of these allegations.
Words by Millie Hinchliffe