Ex-TVNZ star wants to stand for Labour

By Matthew Martin

Mr Coffey, a political science honours graduate, says his true passion is politics.
Mr Coffey, a political science honours graduate, says his true passion is politics.

Former television star Tamati Coffey wants to be Rotorua's next MP, and has been nominated for selection as a candidate for the Labour Party.

After a decade on New Zealand TV, Coffey has put his name forward for the seat, currently held comfortably by National's Todd McClay with a majority of 7,357 votes.

In an exclusive interview, Mr Coffey told the Rotorua Daily Post that his true passion was politics and he was ready to embark on a career in Parliament after a decade appearing on New Zealand's television screens.

The 34-year-old graduated with an honours degree in political science from Auckland University in 2003 before landing a job with TVNZ as a presenter on the children's show What Now.

By late 2007 he had moved to TVNZ's Breakfast show as a roving weatherman and went on to win New Zealand's Dancing With The Stars in 2009. He was also host of the second season of New Zealand's Got Talent and has appeared as a fill-in presenter on current affairs program Seven Sharp.

He left TVNZ at the end of last year.

He and his partner Tim Smith have bought a property in Kawaha Point, Rotorua, which they have been busy renovating since returning from a six-month European holiday.

"I've been passionate about politics all my life," he said.

"I've had a picture of the Beehive on my wall for quite a few years and it's always been a dream of mine to get there.

Mr Coffey said the time was right for him to follow his dream.

"Rotorua is our home now, my parents have lived here for many years and we love living here."

Nominations for candidates to represent the Labour Party in the Rotorua electorate closed yesterday.

If selected, Mr Coffey would replace former Labour Party cabinet minister and new Mayor of Rotorua Steve Chadwick as Rotorua's Labour candidate to contest November's general election.

Rotorua MP Todd McClay said he didn't focus on what the Labour Party were doing.

"I believe I have a good track record of working hard for local people and have delivered some important wins for Rotorua and the wider electorate over the last six years."

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