Auckland mayoral candidate Leo Molloy says he and his team have received death threats following a road-rage incident involving the family of fellow candidate Fa'anana Efeso Collins.
Molloy also said he believed that Collins needed to "come clean" and "set the record straight" over the incident, which happened in Te Atatū on Monday.
Earlier, Collins said his wife, Fia, was cut off by two cars at the same time, with a driver doing the fingers at her. The driver of one of the vehicles involved has since came forward with a different version of events.
In a Facebook post, Fia said her first thought was "maybe they didn't see us but then they beeped their horns, wound their windows down and did all sorts of hand signals at us".
The driver of one of the cars, Tai Kalepo, said there was a road-rage incident between himself and the driver of a white Holden where Fia may have got caught up in a bit of crossfire while driving her husband's campaign vehicle.
He was certain Efeso Collins was not in the campaign vehicle with his wife.
Molloy said after the publication of a story on the incident yesterday, various "political figures and members of the media astonishingly tried to link me to this incident".
"Sadly, as a result of this story, my team and I have received death threats and these individuals have threatened to target my staff and our campaign office."
A spokesperson for Molloy said the threats had come via social media and text messages. Asked if the threats had been reported to police, the spokesperson said police resources were "better spent on more important matters".
Molloy said Kalepo's account of the incident raised several questions, including the question whether any abuse was directed towards Collins' campaign vehicle and whether Collins was "even in the car at the time".
In a statement tonight, Collins said he was "deeply saddened" to hear about the death threats.
"I denounce any threat of violence against any person and hope the police follow up on those being made."
In response to Molloy's calls to set the record straight, Collins said he never said he was in the car during the incident and that he stood by his wife's account.
Collins said they had been in touch with the driver who complained and believed it was better to meet face to face, rather than communicate via a third party, like the media.
"We believe this is a better way to genuinely listen and come to some understanding about what happened."
Auckland mayoral candidate Fa'anana Efeso Collins. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Collins also provided further comment on the incident, saying on Monday a driver cut his wife off on the road and "abuse was directed in the direction of my wife".
"I was not in the car and I never said I was in the car, but these are the facts as told to me, and unfortunately, this was misconstrued in an earlier article."
Collins said his wife's Facebook post was intended for friends and family, and to highlight the importance for families to be kept safe, not as an attempt to garner attention or sympathy in the national media.
After the post he was asked for comment by a reporter, to which he obliged.
"I stand by my wife's account of what happened."