Local elections 2013: Tamihere aims to alter trust thinking

By Wayne Thompson

Radio presenter John Tamihere says he has strong views on alcohol abuse. Photo / APN
Radio presenter John Tamihere says he has strong views on alcohol abuse. Photo / APN

Former Labour Cabinet minister John Tamihere's bid to test the water for a political comeback by contesting local government elections has landed him a seat on the Waitakere Licensing Trust Board, which owns and operates a chain of wholesale liquor outlets and public bars in west Auckland.

But the radio talkback host and chief executive of the Waipareira Trust failed to win the double on Saturday and narrowly missed out on a seat on the Waitemata District Health Board, which also covers the North Shore and Rodney areas.

"I did very well in west Auckland but just could not carry the North Shore votes," he said.

Mr Tamihere, who officially rejoined the Labour Party in December, said he did no campaigning for either post, such as attending public meetings, putting up placards or handing out pamphlets, preferring to "just put my name on the ballot to see what happens".

In an advertisement in the New Zealand Herald Super City Election Guide, Mr Tamihere stated he was standing for the boards "because there has to be changes".

He has a sense of grievance at the way the two liquor licensing trusts in west Auckland run and has a desire to advocate for west Aucklanders on health benefits and services.

The Waitakere Licensing Trust has assets of $30.86 million and this year recommended $5.4 million of gaming machine proceeds return to the community in grants from the Trusts Community Foundation.

"I have strong views on alcohol abuse which creates domestic violence and road injury issues," said Mr Tamihere.

"That was one of the things that intrigued me, so I thought if I got on there [the trust board], it hands out lots of dollars that I think might be invested in better harm minimisation than what it's doing.

"There is a major conversation to be had out here over alcohol on-licensing which is not just a shopfront for pokie machines."

The Waitakere and its sister trust, Portage, have a combined annual turnover of $100 million.

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