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Trouble ahead for Labour as Tamihere let back in

Labour has made a bold play, rehabilitating the popular MP-turned-talkback host John Tamihere.

"Labour has chosen the least bad option, and avoided a certain legal circus had the decision gone the other way," political commentator and NBR columnist Matthew Hooton says.

"But already Mr Tamihere's public comments [calling National's women MP's "fat"] suggest he is going to be trouble for the party and his enemies will redouble their efforts to ensure his return to politics goes no further."

Mr Hooton adds, "It is not just the women's council and Rainbow faction who will be alarmed - the teacher unions will be horrified by his support for charter schools and excellence in education."

Win for Shearer
"The decision is a win for David Shearer, who has actively encouraged John Tamihere's return, against the far left that has rejoined Labour now that the Alliance has ceased to exist," Mr Hooton says.

Mr Tamihere was censured by the party in 2005 for derogatory comments about women ("frontbums"),  gays, unions, The Holocaust ("[I'm] sick and tired of hearing how many Jews got gassed") and Helen Clark.

The comments all featured in Investigate after a lunch between Mr Tamihere and editor Ian Wishart. NBR suspects the magazine might shortly recycle the material.

Mr Tamihere went on to lose his seat to Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples in the election of the same year, then left the party. His efforts to renew his membership this year have been dogged by controversy.

Today, Labour's ruling council allowed the former cabinet minister to rejoin.

Mr Tamihere is seen having cut-through with working class voters, and is expected to have a tilt at the candidacy for the Waitakere, West Auckland seat held by National's Paula Bennett.

Mr Hooton wrote earlier that the "rainbow" faction on Labour's council remained suspicious of Mr Tamihere. But to shun him would have risked his defection to NZ First.

"That would undoubtedly transfer 5% of the vote from Labour to NZ First, putting the former down to 25% and the latter well above 10%," Mr Hooton said.

Like joining the Head Hunters
Regardless, Mr Tamihere did not make things easy for himself.

“It’s a bit like joining the Head Hunters,” he said of the process of trying to rejoin the party on the eve of its annual conference in November 16.

“As I'm trying to walk through, trying to get my membership, they are all there beating you – it’s a bit like a gang, a gang initiation.”

Today, the RadioLive host pledged to behave.

Mr Tamihere said he can't take back what he said in 2005 but he has no intention of repeating it in the future.

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Comments and questions


Well, it says in the article, if you read it - Tamihere arguably carries favour with 5% of the voting population and Labour doesn’t want that to go to NZ First.

However, additionally, I think Labour wants to get rid of their label of being full of gays, lesbians, unionists and B grade boffins so therefore adding a real working-class man to their ranks might help cloud this issue. A better option would be to demote some of those idealists, weirdoes and wannabes to election foot soldiers and fill those party list positions with more Tamihere's and left-leaning businessmen like Peter Leitch. Still keep that fair and inclusive ideology but don’t show us it in its raw form to make a point.

I disagree. Labour needs evidence based policy, and talkback hosts like Tamihere just don't cut it. That being said my vote isn't going to a party led by someone that believes the invisible sky daddy created humans in his image and controls the universe. If you beieve that, you'll believe any rubbish.

John T is not the right person for the Labour Party. It seems to be going backwards. Wake up Labour before it's too late.

Probably will be good for Labour although he would have been a good fit with NZ First or National.

David Shearer, John Tamihere and Phil Geoff working together could work . . .

Good on you John, you are for the ordinary people. There are those in the Labour Party who need to get over themselves and develop a sense of humour.

Yes, MP-turned-talkback host John Tamihere has learnt from his previous mistake(s) and willing to turn over to a new leaf...and care for most NZers. Gathering all possible Labour Strength to push its momentum ahead and win in 2014.

Who next? Phillip Field or Chris Cater? Or maybe John Kirk.

Any previous Labour MP willing to turn over to a new leaf should be welcome to push the Party's momentum ahead
Tamahire has been the subject of serious investigations that have left him a very questionable person in matters of probity.
If Twyford, Shearer and Robertson think that Tamihere is MP material, they are amateurs.
If people who despise Cunliffe and love Tamihere are in control of Labour then that Party needs a total clean out at the top.
Shearer has shown yet again that he is not fit. Labour will loose in 2014 if Shearer or Robertson are at the helm.
Cunliffe has to take over as soon as possible.

"Darren Hughes, calling a Mr Darren Hughes; please come to Reception, there is an urgent message for you."

This guy is a racist and bullies his own people. I've seen him in action. Well he wont be able to bully the NZ public to vote for him like he does elsewhere. He's had his chance what a foolish decision by Labour.

Labour deserves credit for not sending the S.O.S to his bro'.

Labour’s desperation for anyone with an ounce of credibility shouldn’t over-trump them accepting more people joining with even more questionable ethics and behaviour than the current gaggle of ineptitude.

Mind you – that’s perhaps the best thing for NZ Inc – as JT will only add another layer of in-fighting faction to an already splintered, fractured party split along numerous factional in-fighting agenda’s – and now the fox has been parachuted into the hen house.

Stand back and pass the pop corn as Labour attempt to appear credible and with unified solidarity… however when out of camera range, they’re a bunch of splintered ego’s all vying for a shot at the top slot…

Who will get a new job come February?

Rather John T than Donkey (John Key) At least JT can give a straight answer

Had the Labour party not re-admitted John Tamahere, he would have taken them to Court as is his usual behaviour.
JT is not a team player, he plays only to his own ego. He will not be useful in Parliament. He wasn't last time he will not be if he returns. However, going to Wellington will get him out of West Auckland, that is not a bad thing!

JT hates gays and wants to pursue the decriminalization of homosexuality.

It is for this reason that it is a mistake to allow him in the Labour party.

I think you mean "criminalization" as at present it's not illegal to be gay.

I think we should'nt jump the gun, he has to get the backing of the Te Atatu LEC to become a member and then their nomination to become an MP, then the backing of the Waitakere LEC to have a shot Bennett.
I'm sure he won't get the last one, he would have to hijack the Waitakere crew who are loyal to Carmel Sepuloni.

What, another saviour to try and save a bunch of socialist sickos from oblivion. Better to bring back Helen Clark than a lightweight like Tamihere.

Well none JT - you were a great Minister of Lands in a previous Labour government. You will make a difference to Labour's contributions to our great country in the interim, and an excellent prime minister in 4 to 7 years. Kia kaha

Yes, look foward to our great and glorious PM, John Tamihere building concentration camps for the gays in Waiouru.

"... his support of charter schools and excellence in education."

Yeah. Because Labour opposes excellence in education.

Charter schools do not equate to excellence. If anything, they equate to randomness.


JT. What a joke. This will absolutely guarantee Labour into permanent opposition. He is racist and could not lay straight in bed! People can be so stupid...

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