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Tamihere insults on first day back

ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 08:06 04/12/2012

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Former Cabinet minister John Tamihere started the day promising plain speaking - hours later he told a female journalist to "go jump in the lake, you stupid little girl".

Mr Tamihere was dumped from his portfolios seven years ago for offensive comments he made about women and homosexuals.

He was accepted back into the Labour Party at the weekend.

On Sunday he called Cabinet minister Paula Bennett "that bloody fat girl". And on his radio show yesterday afternoon he took a swipe at TV3 political reporter Tova O'Brien.

"Tova, go jump in the lake, you stupid little girl," he said. "I've had a gutsful 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?"

Earlier he told Radio New Zealand that politics was "dumbed down so nobody upsets any voter demographic". He went on: "That's not in me. I just come from a community and a region where we like to spell it out in black and white, and some people don't like that."

Mr Tamihere, who runs the Waipareira Trust in West Auckland, has not ruled out standing in the 2014 election.

Labour leader David Shearer was unavailable for comment last night.

Female Labour MPs were reserving their judgment yesterday.

List MP Darien Fenton said: "He's a member of the party and he has to abide by the rules. He's going to have to get up to speed with the rules and abide by those."

She added: "I wouldn't say it didn't upset me, but I don't want to make a comment."

Maryan Street, also a list MP, said: "I'm leaving it to the leader to comment . . . I have quite strong views about some of the things he said . . . for me it comes down to behaviour. We'll see how John behaves."

But education spokeswoman Nanaia Mahuta, on maternity leave, used Twitter to vent her feelings.

She wrote that his remarks about Ms Bennett were "further evidence he's lost the plot".

And she added: "JT has a fan club of his own they get bussed in now [and] then and good on him. I'm just not a fan of misogynists!"

Prime Minister John Key said he would not "dignify" the remarks with a response.

Mr Tamihere did not respond to a request for comment.

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- The Dominion Post

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