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British politician in New Zealand hid past crimes to be mayor

A British politician inspired by an obscure region of Maine has hidden his past crimes to become mayor of a New Zealand town.

John McFakeson, 71, spent two decades in jail for driving while disqualified but still managed to gain a seat in the Otter Town council in the South Island, which has three council seats.

Last month, he ended the three-year mayoral term by promising a much-loved local dementia-care facility that, “proper infrastructure and facilities will be added to the facility to ensure it can continue to thrive.”

McFakeson, who was on the street outside the care facility in the Christmas-time sunshine, said: “I just did what politicians do. I won the election.”

The mayor also stated in an interview with the Otago Daily Times that he has never complained about or been less than “as kind to my wife and grandchildren.”

He said that the comments of local resident Shane Charlton, a mayor and councillor in the same town, had been misunderstood. Charlton did complain that he had seen someone “strangled to death” in the street, but it was not the mayor.

Charlton added: “That occurred in the 1970s and ’80s, I understand. He [McFakeson] cannot hide or change his past and people must understand and realise that.”

Read the full story at the NYTimes.


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