3 Dec 2012

John Tamihere promises plain speaking

1:19 pm on 3 December 2012

Former Labour Party MP John Tamihere says he will say what he thinks despite concerns from his party colleagues.

The former Government minister was censured by the party in 2005 after making offensive comments about women and homosexuals, and about other MPs, but was accepted back into the party at the weekend.

Mr Tamihere told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme that people need to be honest in Parliament.

"That's the problem we've got, in the last grey era of New Zealand politics, where everything's dumbed down so nobody upsets any voter demographic lest they don't win the Treasury benches.

"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."

John Tamihere says he supports David Shearer as Labour Party leader and at this point will not be seeking an electorate in 2014.

Despite that Mr Tamihere, who runs the Waipareira Trust in West Auckland, has left the door slightly open for himself, saying there's a long time between now and the next election.

Mr Shearer says there is fierce competition to become a Labour MP, let alone be selected as a candidate.

Senior Labour Party MP Clayton Cosgrove hopes John Tamihere will bring strength and diversity to Labour now his application to rejoin the party has been approved.

Mr Cosgrove was once a target of Mr Tamihere's comments on MPs but says he has since moved on.

He says it is a good thing Mr Tamihere is again a member of Labour, and if he wants to return to Parliament he will have to prove his worth like everyone else.

Labour MP for Hauraki-Waikato Nanaia Mahuta says a lot of people will be watching Mr Tamihere closely.

"Now that he's been accepted as a member of the Labour Party he's got to demonstrate that he upholds the values of the Labour Party."

She says it is a big step from being a party member to being considered as a candidate for any seat.

Labour Party president Moira Coatsworth concedes not everyone will support the decision to approve Mr Tamihere's membership.