Labour reveals crucial candidate

Last updated 18:30 01/06/2014

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Labour has finally chosen its election candidate for the crucial Tamaki Makaurau seat: former sports commentator Peeni Henare.

Henare, the great grandson of former Northern Maori MP Tau Henare was selected this afternoon to contest the Auckland Maori electorate.

President Moira Coatsworth said he was an ''impressive'' candidate who was fluent in te reo and has a background in public and community services. 

Henare, now Ministry for Social Development business advisor, said: “It is time to bring the seven Maori seats back home to Labour.  Lets start with taking back Tāmaki Makaurau.''

He's worked for the ministry since 2001 and is also a trustee of Ngati Hine Forestry Trust. From 2008 to 2011, Henare was a commentator for Maori Television. 

Originally from south Auckland, he now lives in Northland.

The search for a suitable candidate was protracted. 

Nominations were re-opened last month when former TV presenter Shane Taurima was denied a waiver from the party's ruling council. 

He needed special permission to stand because his membership was less than a year old.

This was denied after he was found to have used TVNZ resources to campaign for the party. 

The party had hoped to secure another TV personality - Maori TV's Julian Wilcox - but he ruled himself out. 

Teacher Will Flavell was left as the only contender, but the party decided to invite further nominations. 

Maori party co-leader Pita Sharples is retiring at September's election and Labour believes it can take the seat. 

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- Fairfax Media

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