Luxon 'completely unaware' of Uffindell university allegation

Christopher Luxon says he was "completely unaware" of the recent allegation against new Tauranga MP Sam Uffindell, prior to finding out on Tuesday night.

National sent out three statements after 11pm, announcing Luxon was standing Uffindell down while an investigation would look into an allegation around "behaviour shown by Mr Uffindell toward a female flatmate in 2003 while at university".

Uffindell denied this allegation in the next statement, rejecting "any accusation that I engaged in behaviour that was intimidatory or bullying".

"This simply did not happen."

Christopher Luxon and Sam Uffindell.

New National Party president Sylvia Wood then said that Maria Dew would be conducting the investigation that was expected to take two weeks.

Talking to media on Wednesday, Luxon said that "last night there were new and serious allegations raised, they are deeply concerning and worrying and they need to be treated very seriously".

"As a father with a daughter flatting, I would want those allegations taken and treated very, very seriously.

"On the other hand, we have a situation where Sam Uffindell is refuting serious aspects of those allegations," Luxon said.

Luxon spoke to Uffindell last night, informing him of the process.

"What emerged last night was a new series of allegations that I was completely unaware of," he said.

An Otago University spokesperson the university was not aware of any complaints against Uffindell.

"Mr Uffindell’s records confirm that he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Honours, conferred 2007 and Bachelor of Commerce, conferred 2006," the spokesperson said.

The National leader launched an investigation after new allegations emerged on RNZ against Uffindell, a day after Stuff reported Uffindell was involved in a school assault which saw him being asked to leave Auckland's King's College when he was 16.

Luxon said that Uffindell had previously told the party of the incident at King's College, with MP Todd McLay telling a member of the National leader's staff. Luxon had not been informed by the staff member and said it was a regrettable mistake.

Luxon said the investigation was launched to get to the bottom of the allegations and "respect both parties in the process".

"I want a really fair and straight process."

He wanted the complainant to feel safe and secure to share her side of the story and wanted Uffindell to be able to as well.

When asked by 1News' Jessica Mutch McKay if he still saw a place in his caucus for Uffindell, Luxon said, "what I would say to you, when… serious allegations emerged last night, what I need to do is to take those incredibly seriously and that's why I formed an independent investigation over the next two weeks".

Luxon said he would make a decision around the Tauranga seat after the investigation, when asked if National had the funds to fight another by-election.