Mediaworks apologises to Tamihere

June 23rd, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Former RadioLive talkback hoast John Tamihere says he is moving on after a tough 18 months for his family following the settlement of his defamation action against Mediaworks.

Mr Tamihere sued his former employer over the handling of his exit from his talkback job in the wake of fallout after a controversial interview during the Roastbusters scandal.

MR Tamihere said he was happy the matter had been resolved.

“This has been a tough 18 months on my children and family,” he said.

“But the settlement means we can move on, so I accept MediaWorks’ apology.”

Mediaworks today apologised unreservedly to Mr Tamihere, who sued the company – which operates TV3 and radio stations such as The Rock and RadioLive – in December 2013 alleging defamation and breach of contract. He said he had been made a scapegoat following a public backlash to an interview with a female caller who claimed to be friends with one of the Roastbusters’ victims.

The case had appeared destined for a lengthy period of litigation until a surprise settlement was agreed on Friday. Lawyers for Mediaworks had sought to have the case settled by private mediation. In response Mr Tamihere had lodged an appeal with the Court of Appeal arguing the case should be heard in an open court.

That action was withdrawn once the two parties a reached a confidential settlement – which includes a commitment by Mediaworks to broadcast an apology before or after a prime time news bulletin.

Maybe Mediaworks will think twice next time before sacking a host just because of a Twitter led boycott.

Labourites on why Labour lost so badly

September 27th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald talks to four Labourites on why they think Labour lost so badly. Some of their responses show how out of touch they are.

Len Richards: More than a decade of dirty politics aimed at demonising and destabilising the Labour Party by well-organised and well-funded opponents have taken their toll. The opinion polls reflect the public mood deliberately created by the spin doctors of the right, and the very poor election results for Labour over the last three elections reflect the polls.

So Len thinks Labour did nothing wrong, and Labour lost because of basically bloggers. My God.

His solution is for Labour to go more left wing. I hope they listen to him.

Brian Edwards: John Key, perhaps the most popular leader in New Zealand’s history, was deemed hugely likeable; David Cunliffe was widely disliked and mistrusted. Labour had the wrong leader.

Brian is right that leadership is important. It is only part of the challenge though.

Josie Pagani: Voters began to think Labour was trying to make you a better person rather than better off.

Which is what the Greens do.

John Tamihere: Under Helen Clark the party was captured by academics and tertiary-educated leaders of a union movement that never worked a shop floor. They concentrated on identity politics and controlled the party not on the great economic issues, but on whether you were gay, Maori, feminist, bisexual, etc. … hey have driven people like myself out of the conversation and out of contributing to the party. They have lost connection with middle New Zealand and, particularly, men.

It appears that 80% of men may have voted for parties other than Labour.

Will Taurima sue Labour?

May 16th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Mai Chen writes:

Did the Labour Party fail to follow fair process such that its decision not to allow Shane Taurima to contest the candidacy for Auckland’s Tamaki Makaurau seat can be challenged in the courts, or did TVNZ’s report into Mr Taurima’s behaviour justify the party council’s decision?

Allegations have been made by Shane Taurima’s advocate that the Labour Party used the excuse of the TVNZ review of Mr Taurima’s alleged conflict of interest to side-line him in favour of another higher-profile candidate, Julian Wilcox from Maori Television. I do not know the truth of these allegations. But I have read the TVNZ report, and I can tell you what the courts can do if a political party has not followed the process in its own constitution. …

Although, the Labour Party is unincorporated, the courts can intervene to ensure it followed its own constitution. Rule 240 of the Labour constitution says “Any bona fide member of the Party or Affiliated member of the New Zealand Labour Party for at least one year immediately prior to the date of the calling for nominations shall be eligible for nomination as a parliamentary candidate.” So Mr Taurima was prima facie ineligible because he had not been a member long enough.

But Rule 241 states that “Waivers to the length of membership requirement may be granted by the New Zealand Council. The selection meeting shall be notified of any waiver granted for any nominee seeking selection at that meeting. Such notification shall be provided formally in the notice to nominees and the notice to the local party members about the selection meeting and verbally by the chair both before and after all nominees have addressed the meeting.”

The Labour Party Council resolved that granting Mr Taurima the waiver was not in the best interests of the party, and in reaching that resolution took into account the contents and conclusions of the TVNZ report. It has been suggested Mr Taurima might take the matter to the courts. But courts have traditionally been wary of substituting their judgment for that of a political party on matters political.

I doubt Taurima will take Labour to court, let alone win. But some are unhappy. RNZ reports:

A former Labour MP for Tamaki Makaurau has accused the Labour Party president of abusing her power over the Shane Taurima case. It follows a request from the Tamaki Makaurau electorate committee for a review of the Labour national council decision not to let Mr Taurima stand.

John Tamihere told Morning Report that independent sources have confirmed party president Moira Coatsworth met with another broadcaster, Julian Wilcox.

“It’s OK for a president to shoulder tap a high profile candidate or nominee like a Wilcox, but where it goes a bit awry is when you use your authority and power to then skew the scrum completely by taking out a major adversary on the pretext of an error of judgement in his employment” he said.

Mr Tamihere went on to say he believed Mr Taurima had good grounds for a judicial review of the Labour Council decision.

Matthew Hooton in a paywalled article at NBR notes that almost all of the Labour Party hierarchy must have known Shane was running the Tamaki Makaurau electorate out of TVNZ. The leader even attended a hui hosted by Taurima. So can they use the report to veto him, when they had implicitly condoned his activities previously?

UPDATE: In the article by Mai Chen, there is a section I did not quote (as it is on another topic) but has caused some confusion. Mai has said the disclosure limit for donations is $14,999 for parties and 1,499 for candidates. This is saying that donations of $15,000 and $1,500 must have their identities disclosed. This is incorrect. It is donations *in excess* of $15,000 and $1,500 respectively that must have the donor disclosed.

Tamihere sues for $620,000

February 4th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Tamihere is seeking damages of over $620,000 in a suit filed with the High Court on December 23 last year.

The Herald has obtained a copy of Tamihere’s statement of claim and sworn affidavit.

They reveal:

*Tamihere claims MediaWorks had agreed to renew his $10,000-a-month contract for 2014 and he is suing for the full amount after the contract was not renewed following the scandal.

That’s $120,000. Where does the other $500,000 come from?

*Tamihere alleges MediaWorks also failed to publish the findings of an internal complaints review process that found Jackson and Tamihere’s interview with “Amy” had not breached any broadcasting standards.

*Tamihere claims the effect was to allow the public to think Tamihere had been fired for misconduct over his role in the interview but that Jackson had done nothing wrong. Tamihere’s defamation claim is for $500,000 in damages plus costs.

Oh, it’s a defamation suit – not an employment dispute. That will be interesting.

Tamihere and Jackson off air for the rest of the year

November 11th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Willie Jackson and John Tamihere will be off air after today.

The RadioLive hosts have announced on air that today’s will be their last show for the year.

On the show, Mr Tamihere said they would be taking the next few weeks to review what happened last week with management and agree what action needs to be taken.

“We do not condone rape in any way and did not intend to blame the victims.

“Rape is a terrible crime and the victims who come forward deserve support and respect.”

The pair said they “deeply regret” the comments they made last week in an interview with Amy, the 18-year-old friend of a Roast Busters victim.

They also said they regret the impact their actions had on their wives, children, grandchildren and communities.

If they had said that in the original apology, then they’d still be in air. As Alan Martin says, it’s the putting right that counts.

It will be interesting to see who fills in for them for the next two months.

Labour member quits over Tamihere’s membership

November 10th, 2013 at 4:16 pm by David Farrar

Dave Currie writes on Facebook:

The actions of the two hosts were absolutely toxic and the nation is reacting accordingly. What is troubling for me is that Tamihere is being openly referred to as a Labour Party member in mainstream press (1). I appreciate the statements made to Radio New Zealand (2), but at the moment they are only statements.

I also appreciate that disciplinary matters can be heard only by the NZ Council. To that end I hope the need for a special, urgent meeting of the NZ Council to hear this matter is realised prior to the December meeting, so that NZLP can be seen to be taking as swift action as is possible. We are already being left behind. If there’s anything more I need to do in order to make this complaint formal (I note Moira’s quote in the RNZ story says “if we receive a formal complaint” – this was two days after my first email) please let me know as soon as possible.

Today, new information has arisen that John Tamihere has personal links to one of the alleged offenders’ families (3). The claim that Tamihere didn’t know this link at the time of the interview rings very hollow, given the publicity around the boy’s identity in the news at the time the interview took place. This means the actions of Tamihere on that day may not have been simply borne of horrific ignorance as was the basis of my initial complaint – they may have come from a position of consciously wanting to deflect, silence and belittle the survivors of sexual abuse, to lessen the veracity of these allegations on people he is close to.

This new information triggers a limit within me, and my tolerance is exhausted. I will not be part of an organisation which includes this man. I hope to rejoin in the future when conditions permit, but for now I wish to cancel my victory for labour membership, member ID 1025512, and no further fees are to be deducted from my credit card. I’ve cc’d the office email address to this message – can this be actioned please? Sorry to cause you work. I’ll inform the secretaries of the bodies of which I am member and resign where I am chair or delegate.

This isn’t to protest NZLP’s actions in regards to my original request, although I do wish they were more expedient. Leaving the party is a personal choice I make with great sadness, but the moral criteria I base my involvement and association upon has been compromised by this man. My conscience leaves me no choice.

Mr Currie may not be the only one. John Tamihere is publicly identified as both a member and an aspiring candidate. Parties can be broad churches, but is Labour so broad that they include misguided apologists for rape?

Does David Cunliffe think John Tamihere is a suitable person to be a Labour Party member, let alone a candidate?

Doesn’t Labour have a Womens Vice President? Does she have views on Tamihere?

A political talk show with no politicians?

November 9th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Prime Minister won’t appear on Willie Jackson and John Tamihere’s radio show again this year as pressure mounts on their bosses to take action against them for their treatment of a young woman on air.

Labour leader David Cunliffe also confirmed he would decline an appearance if invited.

It caps off a mostly horror week for RadioLive parent company MediaWorks as several major advertisers withdrew from the station amid the furore, and the broadcaster lost some of its most popular US television shows. The furore shaded to a degree the work of TV3 in leading television coverage of the story.

John Key has appeared on the show on occasion but a spokeswoman said he would not do so again this year and no further appearances were scheduled.

Mr Key would continue with his regular interview slot on Marcus Lush’s breakfast programme.

Mr Cunliffe said he would not appear on the show “at the moment”, with some party members unhappy with Tamihere’s comments.

John Tamihere is a Labour Party member, former MP and Minister, and aspiring candidate. Cactus Kate points out in an open letter to Cunliffe the hypocrisy that she is deemed unsuitable for membership, yet Tamihere is. She writes:

I have never accepted there may be any defence or explanation to gang raping girls as young as 13 years old.  Girls that young cannot by law even give consent and Mr Tamihere as a lawyer should know that and he seems incapable of accepting this publicly without attempting to justify it or blaming the girls in some way.

Mr Tamihere is aiding discussion with his fan club of neanderthals, not of grown women but girls only young enough to be my niece and your daughter.  He entertained the thought they may be asking to be raped by a pack of sweaty, nose-ringed, want to be gangster ferals due to what they wear.  He invoked what  Miley Cyrus wears and commented on what is written on girls Facebook pages.  Every educated adult seems to understand apart from Tamihere and his radio partner that these girls have made allegations of intentional, violent and publicly humiliating pack rape which is an entirely different matter to mature adults having consensual group sex.

On the same show on Thursday Mr Tamihere suggested that a person challenging his views was imparting “middle class” values as if it explained away that girls from working class or poor backgrounds should just accept pack rape, underage sex and sexual assault from older boys and men as a normal activity in the suburbs he claims to be at the “coalface” and a Leader of.

I might have to wear the eventual rejection of my membership as a badge of some honour such is the reported rarity of the action.  In light of this however I expect some consistency and that you step in as a Leader before your more vocal and active female members demand it of you and remove Tamihere’s Labour membership completely before even entertaining he may stand for Labour in 2014.

Will anyone in Labour take action? Will Cunliffe?

Back to Radio Live, you now have a political talk show that no MP from National or Labour will go on. I expect no Green MP would either. So will any MP still go on the show with them? I can think of just one – Winston. Inquiring media should ask Winston what he thinks of what Willie and JT said, and whether he is still happy to go on their show.

Hooton vs Willie and JT

November 7th, 2013 at 4:09 pm by David Farrar

Matthew Hooton lets loose to Willie and JT about their previous shows on the Roast Busters. He gets thrown out.

Well done Matthew. Making excuses for the men involved on the basis of where they live or how the girls dressed is just wrong. The girls were 13. That is the end of it.

Matthew has Facebooked:

 I don’t want to be all moralistic about this, because I have behaved terribly from time to time.

But I have two daughters, aged 6 and 8. I hope not, but I expect that if they follow the example of their parents they will behave appallingly when they are teens. I expect they will dress in ways I find reprehensible, hang out with friends I disapprove of, and might get shamefully pissed at what was meant to be a wholesome 15th birthday party.

To some extent, this will be my fault for not being as a good a parent as I should be. 

However, when my 14 year-old girls do behave badly, I expect that any 17 year-old men nearby will, at worst, ignore them or, at best, look after them and get them home safely.

My daughters are entitled to rebel and behave badly, without being raped.

That is the point.

An appalling interview

November 6th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

RadioLive hosts Willie Jackson and John Tamihere have been accused of supporting rape culture and “victim blaming” after their treatment of a female caller who is a friend of an alleged victim of the Roast Busters group.

The 18-year-old woman, who called herself Amy, called the RadioLive show yesterday to talk to the pair about the Roast Busters, only to have the hosts describe the group’s online bragging about sexual encounters with drunk underage girls as “mischief”.

Amy was asked “how free and easy are you kids these days?” when she told Jackson and Tamihere she had attended parties the teenagers involved in Roast Busters were at, and she often saw them, sober, providing drinks to girls as young as 13.

The hosts discussed underage drinking, and why the girls were at parties without their parents’ consent. “Girls shouldn’t be drinking anyway, should they?”

The segment at the link is an appalling interview. It appeared to all be Willie Jackson, than JT – I presume there is a fuller version somewhere. But talking about whether a 13 year old girl has been drinking totally misses the point – they are 13, and they’re drunk. Even worse, it isn’t that both parties are drunk – this is young guys being stone cold sober and plying girls with alcohol.

Good on Amy for speaking up against the predatory behaviour of these students.

The return of Tamihere

February 10th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Steve Kilgallon at Stuff reports:

Tamihere reckons it’s not what he says, but how he says it that gets him into trouble. He reckons people know he’s saying the right thing, “but they might be far more genteel or academic [how they say it]. I’m not”.

And so, in the course of an hour, he casually insults Helen Clark, most of Labour’s front bench, radio broadcaster Danny Watson, Bennett (again – still fat), TV3’s Tova O’Brien (again – still silly), former Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey, Wishart (scumbag), the Act Party (also scumbags), the Maori Party (incompetent), the unions (lazy), academics (timid), me (loser), and himself.

Classic Tamihere.

And, amid all that, for the first time, he announces he definitely wants to become a Labour MP again.

Oh excellent.

While the chance of a tilt at the “train wreck” Maori Party in the Tamaki Makaurau Maori seat appeals, it seems more likely Tamihere will persuade Labour Maori members to switch electoral rolls into the Waitakere seat, giving him enough clout to win selection and, he hopes, beat Bennett.

But against that will be the unions.

Tamihere v Tova

December 4th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

3 News reports:

Former Cabinet minister-turned RadioLIVE host John Tamihere has taken a swipe at the media’s coverage of his return to the Labour Party, calling one 3 News journalist a “stupid little girl”.

Mr Tamihere’s reapplication to be a member of Labour was approved at the weekend, opening the door for him to vie for a place as a candidate in the 2014 election. …

Ms O’Brien asked him this morning if he was sexist, a misogynist or a homophobe, and he took to the radio waves to voice his anger. 

“Tova, go jump in the lake you stupid little girl,” he said.

“I’ve had a gut’s full of idiots like you trying to position people like me.

“Pimply little girls in a newsroom trying to position you for being cut up on a little news bite. Tova O’Brien, where the hell do you come from?”

John must be taking lessons from Winston Peters on how to respond to media inquiries.

Generally speaking if a woman reporter asks you if you are sexist, it isn’t a convincing response to call her a pimply little girl (incidentally not at all an accurate description of Tova).

Likewise responding to a question on homophobia by questioning the “preferences” of the reporter is also incredibly dumb (and offensive).

John has some admirable strengths, but this show his less than admirable weaknesses. And I’d say his already low chances of getting a winnable list ranking or seat have plummeted.

Tamihere back in Labour

December 2nd, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Kathryn Powley at NZ Herald reports:

John Tamihere is back. And it seems nothing has changed. This time he’s calling one of National’s women MPs “fat”.

The former MP who in 2005 suffered a calamitous fall from grace has been allowed to become a member of the Labour Party once more.

But he’s vowing not to tone down his opinions or toe the party line. As if to prove his point, in an interview over a beer in a Henderson restaurant yesterday, Tamihere says he intends to be as outspoken as ever.


So, in the immortal words of fellow Westie MP Paula Bennett, we ask whether his return to politics will force him to “zip it sweetie”.

Tamihere laughs a big belly laugh. “Not for that bloody fat girl up here, I’m going to tell you that right now.”

Back when Tamihere, 53, uttered the words “front bum” to journalist Ian Wishart, he claimed he didn’t realise there was a recorder on the table. Now, there is no such confusion. We are on the record, and he is calling Paula Bennett fat.

I suspect Tamihere will struggle to win nomination for Waitakere, but it will be an interesting contest if he does.

So can he get on with his fellow Labourites?

“Look, I don’t have to get on with these people. I’m joining the Labour Party. I’m not joining the ‘Women’s Party’, I’m not joining the ‘Union Party’, I’m not joining the ‘Gay Party’, I’m joining the Labour Party.

Hmmn, he may be in for a surprise!

Tamihere compares Labour to Headhunters!

November 17th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Patrick Gower reports at 3 News:

The Labour Party faithful have queued up to get into their party conference in Auckland this evening.

All members are welcome except one – the prodigal son, John Tamihere – who has not been allowed to return.

“It’s a bit like joining the Head Hunters,” he says, “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”.

Yes, that’s right, Mr Tamihere compares the Labour Party to the Head Hunters, Auckland’s most feared gang. That’s because while he’s paid his membership fees and wants to be an MP again, his colourful past – including a Serious Fraud Office investigation – means that membership is yet to be approved by the party hierarchy.

He says he is being blocked by forces from within.

So Tamihere isn’t even allowed to attend the conference despite having been a Labour Party Cabinet Minister!

3 News tried to talk to Labour Party member Shane Te Pou about Mr Tamihere, but found the door closed. Mr Te Pou was a key figure in the Bill Liu citizenship controversy – a series of events currently under investigation by the Auditor-General. But while Mr Te Pou is allowed into the conference, Mr Tamihere isn’t.

Of course Shane is welcome – he is a Labour Party fundraiser!

The Tamihere issue

November 10th, 2012 at 11:39 am by David Farrar

Matthew Hooton writes in NBR:

Labour’s New Zealand Council will soon consider John Tamihere’s application to re-join the party.

Despite Mr Tamihere being encouraged by current leader David Shearer, who believes he would make a fine social development minister, the council faces a terrible dilemma.

Either choice will define Labour for a generation – neither in a good way.

But will the Council overlook:

On the other, Mr Tamihere has offended all the party’s factions.

The Women’s Council may have forgiven him calling them “frontbums” and for slamming Helen Clark.

But, since leaving parliament, Mr Tamihere has continued to be an outspoken critic of identity politics, including feminism.

A year ago, he attacked David Cunliffe for selecting Nanaia Mahuta as his running mate: ”The only thing she’s lacking is a limp.  Then he would have got the disabled vote too.”

Choosing her made Mr Cunliffe “smarmy,” he said.

His relations with Rainbow Labour are no better, having called gay people a health hazard to the rest of the community.

Nor is Mr Tamihere a friend of the unions.

Then, in February, he backed Act’s charter schools policy, planning to set one up.

“All we’re looking at doing,” he said, “is bringing the best practice from Remuera to the west.”

Mr Tamihere has also lost friends in Labour’s caucus.

A month ago, he criticised them on national TV: “The front bench is not firing, across the whole line, whether it’s health, welfare or education.”

I think it would be great for Labour to have a member and MP who supports charter schools!

Nevertheless, rejecting Mr Tamihere is also fraught with risk.

There is almost no precedent for a rejection, and certainly none involving a person of his calibre.

A judicial review would be certain and no doubt Mr Tamihere is already operating with the benefit of legal counsel.

Mr Shearer’s encouragement of Mr Tamihere’s return would surely be brought up in court and it would be argued the council, dominated by unionists and Rainbow Labour, was not an impartial jury.

If Shearer has encouraged him to join, and the Council declines, I think it would show Robertson is in control of the party.

Even worse for Labour are the political risks.

Mr Tamihere and Winston Peters are again on good terms.

If Mr Tamihere joined NZ First, the two could hit the road in the provinces and West Auckland portraying Labour as controlled by feminists and gays with no residual interest in good old working-class kiwi blokes.

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 Tamihere may dream of being social development minister in a Labour-led government.

But, if his membership application fails, it’s not impossible to imagine him as social development minister in a National/NZ First coalition.

An intriguing thought. However I seem to recall there is some bad blood at the family level between Tamihere and Peters.

Tamihere and Labour

October 11th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

John Tamihere will have to wait until November to find out if the Labour Party will take him back as a member – and it could depend on whether others in the party raise objections.

Mr Tamihere confirmed he had applied online to become a member again and had sent a note to the party informing it of this.

Party secretary Tim Barnett said Mr Tamihere would be subject to more scrutiny than usual because of his high public profile.

It was “unusual but not unheard of” for membership to be refused.

The party’s leading council would have to decide if there were any formal objections to Mr Tamihere rejoining. None had yet been received.

“From my point of view, I would just look at the record of membership in the past and anything on things he might have allegedly said or done that might have brought the party into disrepute.”

I think JT is wasting his time. If there are some in Labour who don’t even want him as a member, what chance that he can win a selection, let alone be voted into Cabinet (if they win) by Labour’s Caucus?

JT has charisma and plain speaking in shades, is an appealing figure. But his history of poor judgement makes it most unlikely Labour would make him a Minister, even if he did become an MP. They may want to use him to gain votes, but I don’t think they’ll make him a Minister, and it is elected (for Cabinet anyway) by the caucus for Labour. I don’t think Shearer has enough dominance to push someone like Tamihere through.

Tamihere on Labour front bench

October 7th, 2012 at 6:13 pm by David Farrar

John Tamihere on Q+A:

PAUL Yeah, but we’re now 2012, as I say. I mean, do you think David Shearer’s got to really reshuffle that front bench? I mean, you can’t honestly look at that front bench and think they’re performing well as an Opposition.

MR TAMIHERE That’s true, but he’s also got to look to 2014 for the list. 

PAUL It’s critical, because this week – you take this week. Bad week for the government. Should have been. More Dotcom coming left, right and centre at the Prime Minister.

 MR TAMIHERE You’ve got me. There’s no doubt—

 PAUL Wilkinson’s reversal on Mike Tyson.

 MR TAMIHERE Front bench is not firing.


 MR TAMIHERE Across the whole line, whether it’s health, welfare or education, and those are the biggies.  …

I’m surprised Tamihere named specific portfolios where he claimed Labour front benchers are not firing. That will not endear him to Maryan Street, Jacinda Ardern and Nanaia Mahuta.

Trevett on Tamihere

October 5th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Claire Trevett writes:

If you want someone to argue against former Labour MP John Tamihere making it back into Parliament, look elsewhere.

For if Planet Key has its own idylls in rolling greens and toilet-free climes, on Planet Media, utopia would be Tau Henare as the Speaker and John Tamihere back on the Labour benches.

And Hone as a Minister!

Labour is a different party from the one he left in 2005, and its leadership is more tolerant, both of Tamihere’s own political position and his character type.

The renaissance of Damien O’Connor despite his talk of gaggles of gays and self-serving unionists is evidence of that. But the left still holds great sway – and politically, Tamihere foxtrots on the margins of Genghis Khan’s beliefs.

I think Shearer would like Tamihere back, but not so sure he could use his limited influence to win him selection or even a winnable list place.

A campus of charter schools

September 3rd, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The SST profiles Alwyn Poole’s plans for charter schools with John Tamihere:

Starting his own school cost Alwyn Poole his home.

He knew buying the century-old property amid the ranks of private clinicians on Auckland’s blue-blood Remuera Rd was a necessity; he had to set up somewhere affluent enough that the parents could afford $12,000 fees. A decade on, Poole and his wife Karen are still renting, but Mt Hobson Middle School’s Victorian villa has been oversubscribed for the past eight years.

Poole reckons the school’s core principles – small class sizes, focusing on the individual, using outside experts – work well. It has the academic results, the ERO report and, importantly, that bulging roll to prove it. Last year, he says, the marketing budget was a mere $300 (spent on new business cards) because the school doesn’t need to spruik for pupils.

So he believes himself perfectly placed to run the first charter schools in New Zealand – and surprisingly, given the right-wing genesis of charter (or “partnership”) schools, his partner in this enterprise is the former Labour minister John Tamihere.

In the US, the biggest supporters of charter schools are in fact African-Americans.

Even more surprising is the concept: not aimed at middle-class parents lusting after extra clarinet lessons and a debating society, but to the children of Henderson, West Auckland, and with an intention to provide them with a private school education, but without the fees.


Poole and Tamihere, with the Waipareira Trust, want to establish four 50-pupil middle schools on a single West Auckland campus.

The project envisages a central hub with an indoor sports hall, auditorium and offices, with, it seems, some sort of business manager at its heart. Each school would have its own principal responsible for academic affairs.

Quite a smart idea. All sorts of innovations are possible when freed from central planning.

Each year, Poole’s school receives $1300 per student from the Government in funding, but pays it back in GST on fees. So his income is the $12,000 per year paid by parents for fees. A substantial proportion of that goes into paying the mortgage on the school property.

His argument is that because of the $8500 the Government pays for each state-educated pupil and the lower property prices in West Auckland, he could run exactly the same model there without charging parents anything.

Would he make a profit? He says not. “We have been as philanthropic as you can be [in selling their home]. Most people who are likely to become involved will do so without even a hint of a profit motive. I don’t think there are vast profits to be made from education in New Zealand.”

Anyway, he says, everyone makes money from education: teachers, unions, IT providers.

Some hate the fact someone may make money out of something, that they’ll fight against it on principle.

Critics of charter schools suggest that allowing business through the doors will mean the educational imperative becomes downplayed, conjuring images of a Dickensian private academy where 50 students cram over a single textbook and the proprietor swims in piles of money. “I understand that if you are compelling the children to go to the schools,” counters Poole, “but parents aren’t stupid . . . you have to trust them to make sound choices.”

Something the education unions and their proxies seem to hate – allowing parents to make choices.

Tamihere on Labour

August 28th, 2011 at 9:54 am by David Farrar

John Tamihere writes in the Sunday News:

Labour is now polling on average around 30%.

How did it come to be in such a difficult position? A number of factors ensure it does not present itself as a viable alternative Government.

The first was the takeover of the Labour Party machine by Helen Clark supporters Margaret Wilson, Ruth Dyson and Maryann Street from 1991. The full takeover occurred in 1993 when Clark secured leadership of the Parliamentary Labour team. The control of any party or organisation by one leader ensures new talent will always find it hard to make ground.

Politics is the opposite of normal good practice, where you bring on merit and talent as a survival and succession method.

I’ve noticed there are two sorts of leaders in politics. Those who try to bury potential successors, and those who promote them.

Another factor which can solely be attributed to Clark and her lieutenants was the destruction of any overt, robust, healthy contest of ideas. Instead of debating a cohesive and comprehensive ideology that defined what modern Labour stood for and how it was going to advance and implement that, Clark saw this very necessary conversation as a challenge to her leadership. The notion of left and right-wing factions in the party was done away with.

The Labour Party was broken up into a number of interest groups, in effect powerful lobby groups that chose the lacklustre party list. The interest groups are the women’s division, the gay division, the Pacific Island division, the Maori division – you get the picture.

Labour’s list in 2008 was bold and got in some needed new talent. However their 2011 list is indeed lacklustre.

Tamihere on SOE part-sales

January 30th, 2011 at 8:26 am by David Farrar

Former Labour MP John Tamihere writes:

I support the partial sale of these assets regardless.

Majority ownership will be held by the New Zealand Government. New Zealand money, which is flooding offshore to invest in foreign economies, will have blue chip assets to invest in at home, whether they are Kiwi Saver or New Zealand superannuation dollars or dollars that would normally have flowed  to the failed finance sector. All require a safe investment haven and this policy provides that.

Further, it lessens our need to borrow and this will also lessen the amount of interest we need to pay.

No surprise that John Tamihere supports part-sales – he can say what he thinks now he is out of Parliament. I’d say it is almost a certainity that Phil Goff deep down supports it also, considering he was such an enthusiastic supporter of full sales previously. Of course he could never say so publicly.

Goff lowering expectations for Mana

November 15th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Andrea Vance at Stuff reports:

Labour leader Phil Goff has admitted National’s Hekia Parata could win the Mana by-election if turnout is low.

His press secretary, Kris Faafoi, is standing for the seat, traditionally seen as a Labour stronghold. But yesterday Mr Goff said a low turnout would “jeopardise Labour’s hold on the seat”.

Goff is trying to do two things here. The first is to motivate Labour supporters to turn out and vote. He is right – turnout is important.

The second is he is trying to make the seat sound marginal, so that if Labour’s majority is slashed, it does not reflect so badly on them.

Mana is one of their safest seats. It (and its predecessors) have never been held by National. Mana has a larger majority than Lianne Dalziel in Christchurch East, Trevor Mallard in Hutt South and Jim Anderton in Wigram.

A few people point to the party vote margin at 2,500 and say this means it is not safe for Labour. But they make a fatal mistake. The releveant comparison with the party vote is between right and left, as both right and left voters will vote tactically on the electorate candidate (many green voters vote for a labour candidate and many ACT voters vote for a National candidate).

So what was the party vote for the right in 2008 in Mana? 39%. And the left vote? 53%.

In the median electorates, the right is 8% ahead of the left on the 2008 party vote. In Mana the right is 14% behind the left on the party vote.

Now this does not mean Hekia can not win. She has been winning endorsements from some non traditional National voters. Even Willie Jackson and John Tamihere have come out and said people should vote for her or Matt McCarten (partly because they fronted up onto their radio show).

But the reality is that no Government has ever won a seat off an Opposition in a by-election. I’ve checked back over 90 years. If Hekia wins, or even comes close, it will be a seismic event.

Sunday coverage of expenses

June 13th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports Chris Carter is close to quitting Parliament:

New Zealand’s first openly gay Cabinet minister is close to quitting Parliament because he is sick of being attacked as a “luxury-loving gay boy”.

Chris will quite Parliament at the next election – because his colleagues are so pissed off at him.

“Do you want to live your life with this stuff going on all the time? You know, I love being an MP. But there might well be a point soon where I think this is just not worth it.”

Yes, how dare one have to endure scrutiny of spending.

But he said the public perception of him as living the high-life at the taxpayer’s expense was grossly inaccurate – and he still drives a 1996 Suzuki Swift.

The only thing grossly inaccurate is Chris’ perception. It is a shame – he used to have a well developed political instinct, but it has deserted him.

“I have lots of faults … but arrogance, pride and love of luxury are not among them.”‘

So why the $6,000 of limo hire?

No other Minister has been “forced” into hiring them, as you claim you were by the Australian Government.

Matt McCarten writes:

This week the credit card expenses came out on Thursday and none of it was good for Labour.

A number of former Labour ministers clearly didn’t know where the line between their public responsibilities and personal luxury needs started and finished. …

But what these ministers didn’t get is there are rightly different standards for them. They are in the privileged positions of being leaders, where their personal ethics and integrity are important no matter what their political stripes. Carelessly using a ministerial card for personal luxuries is thoughtless at best and corrupt at worst.

There are two types of politicians – those that think it’s a privilege to be a representative of the people and those who think it’s a privilege for us to have them. You can guess which category the ministerial card abusers fall under.

As we saw in the previous story.

And Kerre Woodham writes:

Phil Goff thundered sanctimoniously that Heatley’s position went to his head.

He’d barely been minister for a year, Phil Goff expostulated, and his sense of entitlement was such that he ordered two bottles of wine with dinner. Heads should roll, Phil finished.

Well, as sure as the karma bus will make a stop at your door, Labour has found itself having to explain away thousands of dollars worth of credit card bills run up by its former ministers.

Karma indeed.

Chris Carter, the serial trougher, was at it again. Despite being advised repeatedly as to what was appropriate use for his ministerial credit card, and despite being sent the entire parliamentary policy on credit card use, just as a reminder, Chris Carter continually bent the rules.

Movies, flowers, fruit and massages – whether the massages had happy endings isn’t specified on the bill – all popped up on Carter’s credit card.

Oh Kerre. Too much detail.

And the HoS editorial:

The most extraordinary aspect of the scandal over spending irregularities that has destroyed Shane Jones’ leadership aspirations – and possibly his entire political career – is that he ever imagined he might get away with it.

In numerical terms, Jones is not in fact the worst offender in the latest round of revelations: his one-time colleague in Cabinet, Education Minister Chris Carter, actually ran up 33 per cent more than Jones – on flowers, designer clothing and spa treatments.

Most gallingly, he used his ministerial card to buy flowers for Lianne Dalziel after she was sacked as Immigration Minister for lying about having leaked documents to a television channel.

The logic by which he could regard it as a ministerial duty to console a colleague who had sought to deceive the public remains obscure to everybody but him, it appears.

The thought of personally paying for the flowers did not occur I suspect.

… principal among them is the requirement that no personal expenditure be incurred on a ministerial card. That means precisely what it says: it does not mean that it is all right to run up private expenses with the intention of later reimbursing them.

Many of us run two or more plastic cards and make daily decisions about which to use, for reasons of our own personal accounting. It is no great burden to do so, and it is the least we might expect of someone carrying a card for which the taxpayer picks up the tab.

No great burden and very common.

The events of the week have surely irretrievably damaged the mana of a man who was widely tipped to succeed Phil Goff as Labour leader and, in the eyes of many, potentially the country’s first Maori Prime Minister.

Sad though that is, there is a sense here of history repeating itself. Winston Peters and John Tamihere were in their turn cloaked with the mantle of future premiership.

Hmmn, it does seem to be a sort of curse.

And finally the SST reports:

Jones is being urged not to resign as Goff looks set to use the scandal to shake up his front bench.

Jones and Te Atatu MP Chris Carter face demotion tomorrow after Goff’s return to a party in disarray over revelations going back seven years.

The release of credit card receipts last week show Carter notched up bills for limousines, flowers and massages, while Jones watched dozens of pornographic movies. He repaid the money before he handed in his credit card, but Carter is still paying money back.

Jones, who has been tipped as a potential leader, is considering his future, but has ruled out resigning.

Samuels said Jones shouldn’t quit. “He has got leadership qualities I don’t think anybody else in the party has. Many in Maoridom would be very disappointed if he resigned.”

And besides if Jones goes, who else will be there to grant citizenship for Dover’s mates?

Finally John Tamihere writes in Sunday News:

THIS week the Department of Internal Affairs disclosed detailed lists identifying expenditure of ministers in the Labour Government from 2003-2008. I was a minister from 2002-2004.

I had no idea I could order massages, flowers, porn movies and booze galore. The biggest scalp achieved by the clever release of this information was Shane Jones.

While others erred and were arguably worse, particularly Chris Carter, Jones is the big story.

He entered Parliament as the Labour Party attack weapon on the Maori Party and as a person who had huge cross-over appeal into non-Maori communities.

He has Dalmatian ancestry and was gaining significant support for a tilt at the Labour leadership once they lose the 2011 election.

I am not sure Jones was going to wait until 2011.  Phil Goff’s leadership has been made much safer by this.

The question is, can he survive as a politician? He is a list MP and does not have a constituency to fall back on. He is at the whim of the back-room Labour Party machinery.

That machinery is driven predominantly by a group of women who stretch across the gay, union and the woman’s divisions of the party. They control the moderation committee that decides where you sit on the party list. I sat on that committee for the 1999 and 2002 elections.

All of Shane’s colleagues are going to tell him he has a future in politics and not to quit. And then come the 2011 list ranking, he’ll be given an unwinnable place.

Tamihere on Labour

April 25th, 2010 at 10:57 am by David Farrar

John Tamihere writes:

A document was released by a Labour Party member asking how Labour could make itself more relevant and meaningful to the New Zealand population.

The problem the present Labour Party has is it no longer understands who it represents, what it represents, and why it exists.

Over the past 30 years our society has changed dramatically.

The old debates about Labour left and capitalist right are no longer apparent.

The large number of so-called working class people have now migrated to the middle class. As a consequence, describing your politics in a class way is no longer sustainable.

Further, the great socialist and communist experiments – whether in Tanzania, Romania or Russia – have fallen over, most symbolically with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

By default, Labour’s politics are now determined by its well-organised factions – the women’s and gay divisions of the party.

It has drafted in a number of MPs who have studied poverty and the working class but have never come from those areas of difficulty.

It would be interesting to compare how many MPs have working class backgrounds today, as opposed to 20 years ago.

Tamihere on road toll

April 11th, 2010 at 11:16 am by David Farrar

John Tamihere writes in the Sunday News:

There are over 700,000 New Zealanders who have been convicted of drink driving. This is a huge number and while drinking habits and driving habits have changed considerably in the past 30 years we must move to ensure not just the safety of our young, predominantly male drivers, who drink but more particularly we must also protect the innocent driver who often gets caught up in accidents created by young drink drivers. …

It does not matter whether we lower the breath alcohol level, any drink before driving must be met with a severe penalty.

As a consequence, it is pointless having any benchmark that one might risk endeavouring to reach.

It’s better to put all risk out of the way and make it a general rule that any consumption of alcohol means it is illegal to drive a vehicle.

I am surprised John wrote that column without mentioning he has four convictions for drink driving. Now the last one was in 1995, and I don’t mention this to beat up on him. But his column could have been far more powerful if he had mentioned his own past, and how he has learnt the hard way that you shouldn’t drink and drive.

Tamihere for Auckland

March 30th, 2010 at 7:25 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Auckland City Mayor John Banks’ campaign team is distancing itself from suggestions of an unusual alliance with former Labour Cabinet minister John Tamihere if Mr Banks wins the mayoral race.

Mr Tamihere’s team had sounded out Mr Banks’ team on the prospects of Mr Tamihere becoming deputy mayor of the new Super City if Mr Banks got the top job, TV3 reported last night.

Mr Banks’ communications adviser, Scott Campbell, later confirmed an approach was made. But he said Mr Banks did not intend to make promises about any appointments.

“We would encourage John Tamihere to stand for the position of mayor. Auckland deserves a contest of ideas and he would have a lot to offer the Auckland Council.”

My gut instinct is John Tamihere would have a very good chance of winning a seat on the Auckland Council. He should bolt in, in a Waitakere seat, and his profile is high enough that he probably could win an at large seat, if they had kept them.

While Banks is not promising anything, it seems obvious that Tamihere is positioning himself to support Banks over Brown, despite their joint Labour heritage.

To some degrees Banks wins either way. If Tamihere just stands for Council, he will have Tamihere’s implicit endorsement which broadens his appeal. If Tamihere stands for Mayor, he is likely to pick up significant support from West and South Auckland, but relatively little from Rodney, North Shore and central Auckland – which should also benefit Banks.