Editorial: Tamihere not right for modern Labour
Is John Tamihere really what the Labour Party wants or needs right now?
Like a once-banished man now welcomed back into the fold, the former MP and Minister of the Crown has rejoined the party in which he rose through the ranks and was given the tag of "possible future prime minister".
Like it or not, that aspiration went down in flames in 2005 when he was interviewed by Ian Wishart and made derogatory comments about women and gay people in the Labour Party.
That was the beginning of the end for Tamihere and it is not as if he has spent his time in the political wilderness mellowing out. In fact, given he is now a talkback host, he is even more prone to firing out soundbite potshots at anyone, it seems, who does not agree with him.
He called the Social Development Minister "fat" and TV3 reporter Tova O'Brien a "stupid little girl".
For anyone who has listened to his radio show, which he shares with Willie Jackson, such comments are par for the course.
He and Jackson routinely call people mongrels or disgraces, among other insults hurled.
On the show Tamihere is in his element. He is in control, he says what he wants and he gets paid to do it.
He should stick to that.
Any political ambitions he has should stay back in 2005. Leader David Shearer needs a loose cannon like Tamihere on his team like he needs a hole in the head.
Tamihere plays up to his image of being a "straight talking non-PC bloke" and for that he has gathered a loyal following.
In that case he woud be better served starting a minor party and finding a way into Parliament that way because he has made too many enemies within Labour to be effective.
Tamihere is a smart operator, but a flawed one. And within days of being reinstated to the party that did so much for him, he has shown that he is out of touch and would be better firing shots from the sideline.
ONE MORE THING...
We have had some strong feedback to our Saturday story about Palmerston North City Council's list of people who have parking exemptions. Parking has been something of a hot topic for the past six months so we felt that amid all the discussion it made sense to let readers know who was on the list. In many cases people have legitimate claims to the exemptions, but we felt everyone should know who had the passes and why.