Can I be your No2, Tamihere asks Banks

By Claire Trevett

John Tamihere. Photo / Stephen Parker
John Tamihere. Photo / Stephen Parker

Auckland City Mayor John Banks' campaign team is distancing itself from suggestions of an unusual alliance with former Labour Cabinet minister John Tamihere if Mr Banks wins the mayoral race.

Mr Tamihere's team had sounded out Mr Banks' team on the prospects of Mr Tamihere becoming deputy mayor of the new Super City if Mr Banks got the top job, TV3 reported last night.

Mr Banks' communications adviser, Scott Campbell, later confirmed an approach was made. But he said Mr Banks did not intend to make promises about any appointments.

"We would encourage John Tamihere to stand for the position of mayor. Auckland deserves a contest of ideas and he would have a lot to offer the Auckland Council."

Mr Tamihere, a RadioLive host, has long been tipped as a potential mayoral candidate and it would have the advantage for Mr Banks' team of splitting the centre-left vote - diluting the prospects of Mr Banks' main opponent, Manukau Mayor Len Brown.

A friend of Mr Tamihere would not comment but indicated a casual approach was made to see if Mr Banks would entertain such an idea.

Mr Tamihere would have to win a ward to get on to the council if he failed in the mayoralty race.

TV3 reported Mr Tamihere had the finances and backing for a bid, although he had not yet confirmed whether he would be in the race.

It said his team included union leader Matt McCarten, right-wing lobbyist Matthew Hooton and fellow Radio Live co-host and former MP Willie Jackson.

"We will be up for the battle," said Mr Campbell.

It would also go some way to ensuring there was a well-known Maori candidate in the elections.

The Maori Party, which failed in its bid for separate Maori seats on the Super City council, has indicated it will not run its own candidate but is likely to offer support for a suitable candidate to try to secure a Maori voice.

- NZ Herald

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