Tamihere/Fletcher Auckland mayoralty bid: “Shake it up and sort it out”

As widely indicated since yesterday, John Tamihere has launched a bid for the Auckland mayoralty, alongside current councillor Christine Fletcher. If Phil Goff stands for re-election this will be a challenge to him, especially if it splits the left leaning vote and a credible centre or right leaning candidate also contests the election.

Stuff:  John Tamihere and Christine Fletcher team up to challenge Auckland Mayor Phil Goff

Two-term Labour MP, former talkback host, and social agency leader John Tamihere has launched his bid for the Auckland mayoralty.

Tamihere has teamed up with former National MP and Auckland City Mayor, and current councillor, Christine Fletcher, in an unusual move to campaign with a ready-made deputy-mayor.

Tamihere pledged to “open the books and clean the house”, and said it’s not clear how ratepayers money is being spent.

Tamihere has called for more democratic control over public assets and wants to appoint councillors to the boards of all council-controlled-organisations such as Auckland Transport. That would require a law change.

The only endorsement so far on the campaign website, is from Tamihere’s running mate Christine Fletcher.

After promising yesterday…

There is nothing more on twitter yet, but he has a presence on Facebook:

The launch:

The campaign website: JT For Mayor


1. Open the Books and Clean the House

Aucklanders pay billions in rates and charges, but where does all that money go? Auckland has ended up with the most council staff ever, the biggest wage bill ever – and yet the most out of touch and secretive management ever. I will open all the doors and open all the books. We will find out who the billions are being paid to, what it’s being spent on, and why.

2. Return Democracy to Neighbourhoods

Too much power in our city is controlled by faceless managers in central Auckland. Control of the city must go back into the hands of the people. I will return local resources and decisions to local elected boards and their communities.

3. Bring Public Assets back under Democratic Control

Three quarters of Auckland Council’s assets are controlled by bureaucrats with no accountability. I want all Council owned organisations under democratic control. As a first step I will appoint elected councillors on every Council business board to ensure openness and oversight.

4. Crack down on Waste and Incompetence

Aucklanders deserve accountability and high performance from their Council. I will establish an Integrity Unit to investigate corruption, unacceptable conduct, and incompetence. This unit will report directly to me as your mayor. Aucklanders can be confident that their serious complaints will come to my desk for action.

5. Proper Partnership with Central Government

Aucklanders pay a huge part of the government’s costs. So why are Aucklanders forced to pay an extra fuel tax when no other region does? The present mayor should never have agreed to that. The huge infrastructure pressure on Auckland is the direct outcome of Central Government’s unplanned immigration, and Auckland ratepayers shouldn’t have to pick up the entire bill. As the new mayor representing a third of the country, I will expect a more equal partnership especially with transport and housing.

Minister criticises two Cabinet colleagues over lack of interest in Whānau Ora

Peeni henare, Minister of Whānau Ora, has criticised Cabinet Ministers David Clark (Health) and Chris Hipkins (Education) for their lack of interest in progressing the Whānau Ora programme.

Maori Television:  Ministers’ lack of interest a barrier for Whānau Ora

Minister of Whānau Ora Peeni Henare says a lack of invested interest from the ministers of health and education is proving to be a barrier and he’s making their inclusion a priority.

Auckland was flooded today with Whānau Ora specialists.  However the minister says, the lack of investment from some is a barrier to the progression of the program.

Henare says, ‘I’ve been to a lot of hui to speak about Whānau Ora and the ones who aren’t at the table are the health and education ministers.”

That’s significant criticism of fellow Ministers.

Ex Labour party MP and Maori Party minister Tariana Turia calls it racism.

Dame Tariana Turia says, “We haven’t had all the government agencies see Whānau Ora as the way forward.  In actual fact, they keep coming up with new ideas, new programmes, new opportunities and essentially it’s to put Whānau Ora on the side.”

Turia says a lot of those attitudes stem from racism.

“We have huge institutional racism in this country, that’s the reality and [will be] until non-Māori see Māori as the answer to the issues impacting on them that have been caused by others.”

Ex Labour MP John Tamihere agrees:

“Out of all the money voted out of parliament every year, 98.8 percent of it goes to Pākehā, for Māori by Pākehā, that just can’t continue.”

Despite now holding all the Māori seats now Labour are struggling to deliver for them – or they just aren’t interested.

Tamihere on ‘a less equal society’

I think it is difficult to pin down just what equality or inequality mean. It can be quite misleading and misused.

A country in which everyone lives in poverty have a form of equality.

Generally, countries in which people can and do get richer have on average improved standards of living for most people at least.

John Tamihere (NZH): The fruits of 30 years – a less equal society

What were – and are – the major drivers behind the major wealth redistribution that has occurred over 30 years across OECD countries?

The policies that delivered this massive redistribution of wealth requires a look.
In the United States it was known as Reaganomics, and in Britain as Thatcherism, after US President Ronald Regan and UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

The two powerhouse economic leaders set a course that led to an economic framework based on globalisation and underwritten by supply side economics.

In this country, the incoming 1984 Labour Government took these policies and put them on steroids. It was known here as Rogernomics, after Finance Minister Roger Douglas.

The policy foundations are known as supply side economics or trickledown economics. They are underpinned by the pillars of deregulation, privatisation of public assets, monetary control leading to low interest rates, labour deregulation – in large part the destruction of labour and unions and also lower taxes particularly for the wealthy.

The Rogernomics blitzkrieg promised a more efficient and effective delivery of state services. It offered the breakup of state monopolies so that entrepreneurial New Zealanders could dream to start their own business and become self-made millionaires.

Few people argue against major and urgent reform being necessary in the 1980sn in New Zealand. Muldoon had just about destroyed the economy as the country struggled to trade after the United Kingdom ditched us and swung towards Europe.

We didn’t exactly have equality then. Some, like farmers, got unequal amounts of government assistance.

Major reforms like we had can’t avoid negative effects, unintended consequences and collateral damage. Subsequent tweaks have to be made to limit the damage.

The argument was, once we built a more efficient and effective economy, wealth retained by the Government could be redistributed to build wealth for all New Zealanders.

The magic in this policy framework was that all New Zealanders lifestyles would lift and be so good that by the late 1990s we would be the ‘leisure society’ working four days or less a week.

I don’t remember those promises. I was too busy (very busy) working and raising a family.

Funny coincidence just this week: Four-day work week ‘liberating, empowering, exciting’

Tamihere:

So apart from tourism doing outstandingly well – which is all about the race to the bottom
in importing cheap labour to make coffee and serve tables – dairy, beef lamb, fish and forestry are still a significant backbone of the New Zealand economy, even after trickledown.

People that have done extraordinarily well out of the trickledown of course love the status quo and likely have a say over their 40-hour employment contract, and earn enough to feed, clothe, educate and house their families.

While we have low employment, we have thousands of New Zealanders on low incomes who are underemployed because to be efficient and effective you must ensure as the trickledown starts its downward spiral, less and less gets through to the bottom.

That sounds like nonsense – the keeping people poorer to stay richer fallacy.

We do have one type of inequality that’s growing – the inequality of Working for Families that redistributes money from workers without dependent children to everyone with children, including many quite well off people.

So this article has nothing to do with decrying those who work hard and earn a lot. It has everything to do with asking the questions. What sort of society or country do you want to live in? Are you comfortable seeing fellow Kiwis on Struggle Street sleeping in cars and under hedges? And are you comfortable making significant profits, having the whip hand over wages, hours, conditions and therefore the livelihood of your fellow citizen.

What about: Are you comfortable taking significant financial risks and working your arse off to provide jobs?

We’ve seen a major collapse in integrity and credibility in business leadership in this country, whether it was the collapse of the finance houses or whether it was the captains of industry who sat on the district health boards and pretended that everything was okay. That wages for nurses were good and that buildings that housed patients were fit and healthy for purpose.

While there have always been examples, have we really had “a major collapse in integrity and credibility in business leadership”?

We all know differently. We know that in every sector of our community, the great underwrite for this country was that everyone was able to have a fair go. I’m not sure that is the situation.

A fair go can only exist in an open, transparent society. The only institution that can reassert a fair go is the New Zealand Government.

There’s some interesting comments on this at Reddit:

Excellent article, which does a good job of highlighting the fact that inequality is not a partisan issue. The financial deregulation of the 1980s (“Rogernomics”) was a Labour government initiative, and National has spent the best part of the last decade promoting it.

Now, after 30-odd years, we’re all running around looking for someone to blame for the results, but what we really need to do is take a look in the mirror and ask ourselves some serious questions about how we let things get to this point, and what we can do to fix it. Witch-hunts are incredibly unproductive.

And:

That last sentence is important I feel. The previous government took things to the penultimate point and tried to use industry and capitalism to fix all society’s problems (health, housing, corrections, education) which was an abysmal failure.

Capitalism is awesome and a fantastic system in many ways, but it cannot fix all problems and cannot entiry self regulate. So the problems now are far to big for any industry sector to tackle and require significant government intervention. To those who argue against this…well why did you (yes you) let things get so bad under the system of the last 30 years. There was ample opportunity to ensure fair distribution of societal gains to prevent the current disaster in mass inequality, but humanity is selfish by design and needs to be checked.

There have been failures for sure, but have things overall been ‘an abysmal failure’?

Shift from targeting Maori to targeting the poverty

Bryce Edwards looks at a shift in Government shifting from race-based (Maori) targeting to a more universal approach to dealing with poverty, but they say that as Maori feature in the deprivation statistics they should benefit the most.

Is this related to Winston Peters’ past attacks on Whanau Ora, with Labour now quietly accommodating his preference away from targeting Maori? Where do the Greens stand? Quietly on the sideline?

NZ Herald: The real political controversy of Waitangi 2018

Lost amongst the focus on BBQs, relentless positivity, and eloquent speeches at Waitangi, a fascinating and important shift in Government-Maori relations appeared to be underway. Labour and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have been signalling that this Government is departing from the traditional culturalist and “race-based” approach to dealing with Maori deprivation and economic inequality.

Instead, a more universal, economic-focused method will be used. The conventional approach of advancing Maori aspirations was epitomised by the Maori Party’s focus on culture, race, and sovereignty issues, and it appears to be on the way out.

Heralding what may be a highly controversial approach to “closing the gaps” in terms of Maori inequality, Jacinda Ardern made her most important speech at Waitangi by stating that the new Government would take a universalistic approach to inequality – by targeting everyone at the bottom, rather than specifically targeting Maori.

Jacinda Ardern strongly emphasised the need to deal with the long list of social ills that have a disproportionate impact on Maori, but signalled that race-based methods were not the best way of moving forward.

Since then, the Finance Minister has confirmed this shift in approach to dealing with inequality. In an interview with Morning Report’s Guyon Espiner on Wednesday, Grant Robertson responded to questions about whether the Government would specifically target Maori in its programmes, saying: “Our focus is on reducing inequality overall” – you can listen to the six-minute interview here: Global market dive: Grant Robertson optimistic.

Espiner sought clarification: “So there won’t be a specific Closing the Gaps type programme that we saw under Helen Clark? We’re not looking at heading off down that path?” Robertson replied: “That’s not the approach that we are taking. But we believe that we will be able to lift a significant number of Maori out of poverty, and increase employment outcomes, because of the approach we are taking.”

Robertson went on to explain that the Government would keep some targeted funding for Maori, but stressed that a more universal approach would dominate:

“Maori will benefit disproportionally from the families package – from those payments, because at the moment, unfortunately, Maori appear in those negative statistics. We’ve got a range of programmes coming down the line that will support Maori and the wider population as well. Where it’s appropriate, where there are programmes – particularly in an area like Corrections – where we know that we can have a real impact on that Maori prison population, then we’ll have a look at them.

“Similarly, with employment programmes. But in the end, Guyon, this is about reducing inequality overall. It’s about providing opportunities for all young people – and we know that Maori will benefit more from that, because unfortunately they are in those negative statistics.”

Essentially, this new approach means directing resources and solutions to poor Maori “because they are poor” rather than “because they are Maori”.

This isn’t popular with some Labour Maori:

In RNZ interviews following on from Robertson’s, both Willie Jackson and John Tamihere reacted negatively against the notion that the Government was shifting in this direction – you can listen to the interviews with Jackson and Tamihere.

Jackson is a Labour MP.

Nor with the Maori ‘elite’:

The Government’s shift away from focusing on iwi property rights has also been signaled by Regional Development Minister Shane Jones. Sam Sachdeva reports: “Whereas English and his predecessor John Key seemed to focus on Article Two of the Treaty of Waitangi and property rights, Jones says the new government will have a greater emphasis on Article Three and the entitlements, rights and obligations of citizenship” – see: A fresh start at Waitangi?.

This might all end up in legal fights. 1News has obtained the letter from iwi leaders to the prime minister complaining about their change in direction, and threatening Supreme Court action if iwi rights to freshwater were not addressed – see TVNZ: Iwi leaders unhappy issues like water ownership aren’t on new Government’s radar.

An interesting observation:

There was nothing about this in the Labour-NZ First coalition agreement.

I wonder what the Greens think. And I wonder how much they have been consulted.

From Green policy: “We would continue to support and strengthen Whānau Ora”

Families package praise plus tax nonsense

John Tamihere praises the Families Package that was passed in Parliament just prior to Christmas, but repeats the ignorance or deliberate misrepresentation of the tax cuts that were scrapped in Tax cuts are the wrong approach

When the Labour-led government passed its Families Package Act the week before Christmas, it signalled a culture and direction switch for this country and a beacon of light for thousands of New Zealanders.

The main features of the reforms mean that at a minimum, 384,000 New Zealand families will increase their weekly income by $75. On top of that, there is a $450 energy payment that can be deployed on anything targeted at beneficiaries and superannuates.

A $60 per week best start baby benefit for the first year of a child’s life, extends to three years for low income families. The package is complex, given the amount of individual household variations for different compositions of families. In general terms, households with children with incomes below $60,000 will receive additional payments.

That’s a good thing – for families.

Children, who through no fault of their own are born into low waged and/or beneficiary families, had a brighter Christmas and New Year because of this package.

That’s nonsense. The package was passed in Parliament just prior to Christmas but children are unlikely to be aware of it and it doesn’t take effect for a few months yet.

This Act is significant in itself because it was able to repeal the $8.4 billion worth of tax cuts promised by the National Government. Cuts that would have increased the income of very well-off New Zealanders, not the large numbers of working Kiwis who are on struggle street.

That’s just straight bullshit – a line largely spun by Jacinda Ardern and Labour during and after the election campaign.

For people with the supposed knowledge of how tax works and what the tax cuts would have done this is blatant false information, lying.

Everyone who pays income tax would have benefited from National’s tax cuts, including those on lower and average incomes.

The Families Package benefits families more, or more accurately, households with children up to eighteen years of age.

But it has taken away legislated tax cuts for all those families without children at home or with older children.

Households in Auckland who use cars will pay additional fuel tax, people who smoke tobacco will pay more tax, superannuates will get no tax relief, rates continue to rise around the country.

Low income earners with no children will not benefit – they will be left on struggle street.

The new direction set with the Families Package legislation means we will no longer accept the mantra that tax cuts are good.

I don’t know who Tamihere refers to as ‘we’ – perhaps that’s Labour’s PR department.

He also doesn’t mention that while “very well off New Zealanders” who have children will not now get tax cuts they will benefit from the Families Package.

More money for people with low incomes and with children is fair enough, to an extent.

But Tamihere should be honest about how the re-targeting still benefits many richer people, and it takes away tax cuts from a lot of poorer people.

 

RadioLive and rape culture

The RadioLive and rape culture repercussions continue. Jackson and Tamihere have an advertising free show today.

Willie Jackson & John Tamihere’s show on RadioLIVE today will be commercial free. Telecom is the latest company to pull its advertising.

A number of companies pulled from it by RadioLive seems to have tried to not risk losing the rest. But it’s still getting worse regardless:

Vodafone New Zealand ‏@vodafoneNZ

We have suspended all advertising with Radio Live following the actions of John Tamihere & Willie Jackson around the Roast Busters case.

The instigator of the advertising protest, Giovanni Tiso, has blogged This is what rape culture looks like where he explains his actions, and lists the questions that Jackson and Tamihere asked.

How did your parents consent to you going out as a 14-year-old til 3am in the morning?

So anyway you fibbed, lied, whatever, and went out to the parties –­ did you not know they were up to this mischief?

Well, you know when you were going to parties, were you forced to drink?

Don’t youse [sic] know what these guys are up to?

Yeah but girls shouldn’t be drinking anyway, should they?

Why is it that it’s only taken you this arvo to stand up and say this happened?

I know you’re only 18 but as the pressure comes on, a lot more girls who might have consented who are identified might well just line up and say they were raped as well.

How free and easy are you kids these days out there? You were 14 [when you had sex], yeah?

But if some of the girls have consented, that doesn’t make them rapists, does it?

You see Amy, when you get to that sort of number and you get people like you who’ve been around for three years, you know what, I find it very difficult to understand why an allegation, if rape has occurred, it hasn’t happened before.

That’s why I’m getting a bit confused here right. The girls like them, the girls think they’re handsome, the girls go out with them, then you say they get raped, right?

The other side come to it, are they willing drinkers, all those questions come in don’t they?

Do you think over this period any of the girls could have got together and said, this is not on?

When the tried to apologise the following day they just demonstrated that they didn’t get it.

Tiso concludes:

This is what rape culture sounds like: victim-shaming, blaming alcohol or lying to one’s parents, the core belief that if rape happens often enough, it’s no longer rape. It’s all there.

This week, our collective conscience has been shaken. It’s time to turn the outrage and anger into collective action, so that we may not regain that false, misplaced sense of innocence and trust.

Apart from some isolated misogynists there has been widespread condemnation of the culture surrounding the Roast Busters. At least the awakening of action to address the issues may make good of something widely seen as awful.

Willy and JT keep roasting themselves

Willy Jackson and John Tamihere have been getting a lot of criticism for an interview they did yesterday with a girl about ‘Roast Busters’. I listened to it last night, I didn’t think it was quite as horrific as some have claimed but it wasn’t flash – it demonstrates what is quite common male thinking, unfortunately..

@MattNippert
Wrong-headed Jackson/Tamihere interview with friend of Roastbusters victim yanked – comments slagging hosts remain:

http://www.radiolive.co.nz/Friend-of-an-alleged-Roast-Busters-victim-calls-Willie–JT/tabid/506/articleID/38783/Default.aspx

An open letter to the RadioLive hosts:

Tena korua John and Willie

Yesterday we were sent the link to your radio programme of your discussion with ‘Amy’. Listening to your programme is a rare event in both of our whare. Why? Because the views you espouse are on the whole conservative, often ignorant and nearly always sexist. So we are not surprised with the misogynistic undertones of how you spoke to ‘Amy’.

What is saddening is the fact that you seem to have absolutely no awareness or experience of the impact of rape on the lives of it’s victims and survivors.

What is disturbing is that you show no empathy for the pain and ongoing distress caused by sexual violence on entire whanau.

What is alarming is that with all the involvement you have in providing programmes within urban Maori communities that you remain ignorant of the destruction caused by rape culture.

What is disconcerting is that you have no sense of understanding for how difficult it is to talk to others about being raped, about sexual violence, about family violence let alone what it means to be 14, 15 or 16 years old.

What is disgusting is that you seem to revel in the deep-seated ignorance on these issues.

Rape, whether it be of a woman abducted, or of a mother catching a bus home after work, or of a young woman out for drinks with her friends, or of any woman in her own home by someone she knows – is rape.

Rape, John and Willie, is rape.

Rape, John, is not about “how free and easy are you kids out there these days”.

Rape, Willie, is not about how you are too young to have a drink out with friends.

Rape has nothing to do with if they are good looking. ‘Good looking’ men rape too Willie.

Rape – John and Willie – is rape.

Your continual use of media to promote sexist, anti-Maori women sentiments, and rape culture can only be a reflection of your own beliefs about women. There is no other reason for the flow of misogynistic diatribe that falls so easily from your mouths.

This is not the first time that you have both supported rapists or deeply offensive sexist behaviour. It is a consistent activity on your part. Dismissal of women, marginalisation of Maori women and the promotion of male supremacy is commonplace on your shows and in your commentary. This is not the first time we have called you out on that.

These girls and young women are peoples’ friends, daughters, sisters, cousins, grandaughters. Women raped by those men you support and promote are daughters, sisters, cousins, grandaughters. That is what you are promoting Willy and John. You are supporting and promoting a rape culture that lays blame at the feet of those women who should in society be free to have a drink, wear whatever they wish, go out with friends and feel safe to do so.

You need to think of all the women in your whanau and in your circles, John and Willie. You need to see the act of rape as an act of abuse, an act of power and an act that instills fear, and act that impacts on all women, on all wahine Maori including all those wahine within your own whanau. Perhaps then you would be less dismissive of their pain and less promoting of the violent acts being perpetuated everyday on our wahine.

There were some pertinent questions you could have asked yesterday to instead call our rape culture, our systemic enforcement of it and our everyday sexism to account. We never expected this of you both because that takes real journalism.

Both of you alongside Radio Live AT THE LEAST owe a formal and unconditional apology to all who have experienced sexual abuse and rape. You owe an apology to their families. You owe an apology to any human who has been disgusted by your remarks yesterday and your attitude towards ‘Amy’ and all like her.

Yesterday we put out a public call to Radio Live for Marama Davidson to talk on your show but not to debate the validity of your attitude. There is no argument there. You are simply wrong and likely to have caused further harm to any person triggered by your ignorance. We would have appreciated the chance to be a voice to unpick that harm and call you to account and most importanly, to stand in support of ‘Amy’ and all like her. We are still waiting for your invite……..

We hope you have the sense to reflect on your actions. We hope you and Radio Live at th least offer a formal apology.

Na matou
Te Wharepora Hou Maori Women’s Group
Dr Leonie Pihama and Marama Davidson

http://tewhareporahou.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/open-letter-to-john-and-willie/

But their ignorance continues:

Toby Manhire ‏@toby_etc

Willie Jackson apologises, incl on behalf of Radio Live, for “any offence caused to Amy”, but says he’s no idea how ppl could be upset.

John Tamihere: “the questions put were prudent and worthy of putting”. He’s “flummoxed” by people who amplify details of “phraseology”.

@JodiIhaka

Jesus Christ Jackson and JT apologise immediately!!!!

Doesn’t sound like this sideshow is anywhere near over yet.

‏@RadioLIVENZ is trying to promote it as an apology.

AUDIO: Willie & JT apologise for handling of ‘Roast Busters’ caller “Amy”

http://www.radiolive.co.nz/Friend-of-an-alleged-Roast-Busters-victim-calls-Willie–JT/tabid/506/articleID/38783/Default.aspx

Interesting support:

@CactusKate2

Great to read lots of Maori women out there on Twitter climbing into Willie and JT. Silent too long.

And some Maori men.

From Stuff – Radio hosts apologise over interview

The RadioLive hosts said that if “some” of the girls had consented, “that doesn’t make [the Roast Busters] rapists, does it?”

They suggested that women who consented to sex may now “line up” to say they were raped as well.

On today’s show, Jackson said that they “absolutely don’t condone the actions of the Roast Busters” and were simply trying to discuss complex issues.

“We have no problems apologising to Amy for causing offence. Not a problem at all. We thought were sensitive yesterday, maybe we could have done a better job.

“We’ve got the utmost respect for Amy for speaking out about her experience, it was an incredibly brave interview.”

They could have done a much better job, but only if they understood what they were talking about, and as far as rape goes they clearly don’t. Unfortunately their attitude is not uncommon.

John Tamihere versus journalists

An attack by John Tamihere on a Herald journalists is getting significant criticism from other journalists, for example Russel Brown @publicaddress::

 Despicable conduct by John Tamihere and his mates. Really, really creepy

@waateanews What the hell are you doing enabling the intimidation of a fellow journalist? #Tamihere

Toby Manhire just added “Thug”.

Of course journos will be a bit disturbed by an attack on a journo’s family. From NZ Herald:

Tamihere’s media challenge

Journalist and family became target in paparazzi-style photos.

roadcaster and Waipareira Trust chief executive John Tamihere has not taken kindly to investigations made by a Fairfax journalist into his personal business dealings, and his retaliation this week has caught the ire of his MediaWorks bosses.

Tamihere was embroiled in legal action in the Auckland High Court last month involving dealings with property developer Brent Ivil and a $500,000 personal loan on his West Auckland home. Justice Pamela Andrews has reserved her decision on the case.

However, the Labour Party hopeful took to RadioLive’s airwaves and website this week to turn the tables on business journalist Matt Nippert.

In a personal statement issued on the MediaWorks website, Tamihere accused Nippert of “spin” and invited him to go head-to-head on his RadioLive show.

“I don’t have a problem being put under scrutiny, but I’d like to know whose agenda is being pushed. I’ve had photographers jump out of the bushes to get shots of me and my family,” Tamihere wrote.

However, any sympathy Tamihere may have courted was quashed when Nippert and his family became his target of attention in paparazzi-style photos.

Three pics were uploaded to the RadioLive website, alongside Tamihere’s statement. They included a secret snap of Nippert, the street he lives on and the house he shares with his wife and young baby.

Tamihere says Nippert has an “infatuation with Waipareira and its business”.

But what business is it of RadioLive, and parent company MediaWorks, to allow one of its radio jocks to use its website and airwaves as his own personal platform?

Nippert didn’t want to comment about Tamihere’s online statement, nor the paparazzi photos, but he told The Diary Tamihere had an opportunity to comment in “the two stories I wrote, but he refused to answer questions”.

Tamihere did not return calls, but a rep for MediaWorks told The Diary the offending material was removed immediately when RadioLive bosses became aware of it.

“The online statement and photos came down as soon as management became aware of them. We don’t condone our hosts settling disputes of a personal nature on air or on our website,” said Rachel Lorimer. New processes ensuring it does not happen again were being examined.

However, Tamihere’s statement and the paparazzi pics remain on the Waipareira Trust’s home page.

That report is by another journo (Rachel Glucina in The Diary) , but it doesn’t sound good from Tamihere. Personal attacks on Journalists and their families is bad enough, but it is also an intimidation on freedom of speech.

There are already suggestions this will quash (or should quash) any chance of Tamihere standing for Labour next election, including from Labour supporters:

Alex Coleman@ShakingStick
Some calls are tough to make, whether Labour should select Tamihere to stand for them again as a candidate is not one of those calls.

@ImperatorFish
On the bright side that should put an end to the John Tamihere Labour Party candidate selection bid.

Tamihere’s return as a Labour Party member was already highly controversial. This won’t help his chances of getting preferential ranking for the next election – or if he does get a good list ranking it will rankle in an already cranky party.

Labour’s problem with homophobia

The Labour Party has a number of openly homosexual MPs, and it has promoted pro-homosexual law. MP Louisa Wall currently has a bill in progress that looks likely to increase marriage equality by allowing homosexual partners to legally get married.

So it’s surprising to see anti homosexual comments from people in the party. Making critical and derogatory comments about homosexuals is often referred to as homophobic.

David Shearer has recently made a comment that I think is more likely a faux pas rather than acceopting of homophobia in the party in a recent radio interview:

Zac: Is there room for MPs with homophobic views in the Labour Party?

Shearer: Oh look yes, absolutely, there are some,

But there is a bit of history of Labour MPs being derogatory towards homosexuals. This is something that David Shearer needs to respond to and address, particularly as he is supporting and promoting John Tamihere’s return to the ranks of Labour MPs. A recent Dominion Post editorial discussed this:

If Labour Party leader David Shearer is hatching a cunning plan to re-enlist former MP John Tamihere in the party’s parliamentary ranks to court the blue-collar vote, he should drop it.

Mr Tamihere’s on-air tirade against a female reporter who dared to ask him if he was fattist, a misogynist or a homophobe, shows he is unsuited to again hold public office.

Coming just days after he was readmitted to the party, the tirade also shows he learnt nothing from the 2005 brouhaha that effectively ended his six-year parliamentary career.

Then, in an interview he thought was off-the-record, he variously described his Labour colleagues as “smarmy”, “queers” and tossers, said the prime minister, Helen Clark, was emotionally fragile, labelled her chief of staff “butch”, referred to women as “front-bums” and said he was “sick and tired of hearing how many Jews got gassed”.

 

From Stuff in 2011:

Labour MP Damien O’Connor was forced to apologise to colleagues for remarking that his party’s list for the November election is dominated by “unionists and a gaggle of gays”.

And…

Labour’s Trevor Mallard says he shouldn’t have called Attorney-General Chris Finlayson “Tinkerbell” but denies there is problem with homophobia in the party.

ACT’s Wellington central candidate Stephen Whittington yesterday accused openly gay Labour MPs Grant Robertson and Charles Chauvel of covering up prejudice among their caucus.

Hutt South MP Mr Mallard likened Mr Finlayson to the Peter Pan fairy during a parliamentary debate in October 2009. Waimakariri MP Clayton Cosgrove twice called Mr Finlayson Tinkerbell in the House in July 2009.

Mr Mallard said last night: “I certainly don’t think I’m homophobic. It’s a comment that was probably unfortunate and if I’d thought carefully I wouldn’t have made it.”

It was “ridiculous” to suggest Mr Cosgrove was anti-gay, he said. Mr Cosgrove did not respond to a request for comment.

The allegations flew after a Rainbow meeting in Wellington on Wednesday night. Mr Whittington believes both Labour MPs were denying the Tinkerbell remarks were ever made.

“I felt that they had questioned my credibility in a public forum and denied there were aspects of their party who criticised and abused MPs for being homosexual,” he said. “I didn’t think that was acceptable.”

Both Mr Robertson and Mr Mallard believe Mr Whittington was trying to divert attention from homophobic comments made by ACT’s Epsom candidate John Banks a number of years ago.

“He was asked a question about John Banks. In his response, he said there are homophobic Labour MPs,” Mr Robertson said. “I don’t believe there are.”

He added: “Of course I don’t think it’s a good thing for Labour MPs to call Chris Finlayson Tinkerbell. It’s silly statement…With all due respect, [to] Stephen, I suspect I know more about homophobia than he does.”

Green MP Kevin Hague, who was also at the meeting, backed Mr Whittington’s version of events. “My sense was thatCharles and Grant were denying that Mallard and Cosgrove had abused Chris Finlayson in a homophobic way.

“The impression I had was that they were denying that he said it.”

Shearer may be tolerant of allowing people representing Labour to have differing views, and even expressing them colourfully.

But in light of his recent radio comment that appears to accept homophobia in the Labour cacucus I think Shearer has a duty to be open and clear about where he stands on this.

In particular he needs to clarify:

  • what he meant by his comments on 95bFM
  • what he expects of his MPs in relation to derogatory ‘homophobic’ statements

And questions need to be asked about Shearer’s participation in the Gay Pride parade in the weekend – was that just publicity seeking, using gays for some photo opportunities?  Then the next day say homophobia is fine in Labour?

If he doesn’t address this he will be added to the list of Labour MPs who have been openly ‘homophobic’, and the Labour Party will be inextricably linked to homophobia.

I have emailed David Shearer, Trevor Mallard, Damien O’Connor and Clayton Cosgrove asking for a statement on this.

Hands on government, hands off leader?

David Shearer has been promoting a more hands-on approach from Labour in government. He promoted this in his conference speech:

The hands-off approach has failed and it’s left the world badly off balance.

What will it take for National to admit its hands-off policies aren’t working?

We will replace a simplistic hands-off approach with a smart hands-on one.

That’s because the hands-off approach says: “pay low wages, cut back on conditions and ramp up casualization”.

That has to end. We’ll be hands-on.

The party is on it too:

News: National needs to get hands-on with kids health

I’d rather hands on kids health was left to the health professionals. I suspect this meme won’t go as far as Labour promoting a more hands on approach to tax.

This ‘hands on” approach is interesting, because it seems to be the opposite approach to how Shearer leads Labour. He seems to be a very hands off leader. Some MPs seem to be as heavy handed as they like – Trevor Mallard, Shane Jones, Chris Hipkins and Clare Curran have dissed repute at will and Shearer has kept his hands off.

Not all MPs have their hands free though, Shearer has been heavily handed in dealing with David Cunliffe for grinning, and taken Cunlife’s hands off any party responsibilities.

There’s similar conflicts in the wider party. John Tamihere has been handing out heavy criticism of  Labour, but Shearer has endorsed him getting his hands on party membership and has been hands off any reprimands.

But Curran is very hands on gagging dissenting and critical party member bloggers, forcibly taking their hands off their keyboards.

This is confusing. Would Shearer be a hands off Prime Minister leading a hands on Government?

Would he keep his hands off his MPs attacking others, butwith heavy hands on anyone who criticises his Government?

No wonder there’s some heavy hearts in the party, and much concern about what might happen of Shearer gets his hands on Government.