Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Taurima's future with Labour riding on TVNZ findings

Shane Taurima has strong support on the Tamaki Makaurau local electorate committee and in Labour's Maori Council. Photo / APN
Shane Taurima has strong support on the Tamaki Makaurau local electorate committee and in Labour's Maori Council. Photo / APN

Labour is considering blocking former TVNZ broadcaster Shane Taurima as a candidate if a TVNZ investigation into his links with the party while working at the state broadcaster is too damaging for him and the party.

Taurima and Auckland teacher Will Flavell were the only nominations to be Labour's candidate for the Tamaki Makaurau seat by the deadline yesterday.

However, Taurima will need Labour to agree to waive its requirement that candidates be party members for at least 12 months.

It agreed to that last year when Taurima unsuccessfully stood to run in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti byelection.

But Labour general secretary Tim Barnett said the findings of the TVNZ investigation due out this week will be a factor in whether the party allows Taurima to proceed with contesting the selection this time. The broadcaster is considering a range of issues.

He said if Taurima was refused the waiver, it was also possible the party would reopen the selection. Taurima has strong support on the Tamaki Makaurau local electorate committee and in Labour's Maori Council.

However, some on the council are concerned his resignation from TVNZ in March has made him too much of a political risk in the seat Labour hopes to win back from the Maori Party. Taurima is yet to comment publicly on the nomination. If he was blocked, it could clear the way for Maori TV broadcaster Julian Wilcox to run.

Labour sources told the Herald Wilcox had talked to the party, but because of the risk to his career he had refused to stand unless Taurima withdrew and Wilcox was a certainty to win it.

Wilcox would also require the waiver - sources said he joined the party last November but stopped his membership four months later after Taurima ran into trouble.

Taurima resigned as head of Maori programmes at TVNZ in March after emails leaked to TV3 showed he had taken part in Labour Party events with other TVNZ staff in the Maori unit who supported his political ambitions.

Taurima has denied that his affiliation impacted on the editorial content of his work or the programmes he had responsibility for.

- NZ Herald

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