Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Delays continue in selecting Tamaki Makaurau seat

Shane Taurima. Photo / File
Shane Taurima. Photo / File

Labour is still facing delays in selecting its candidate in the key Tamaki Makaurau seat as a result of broadcaster and potential candidate Shane Taurima's TVNZ problems.

Party figures are now worried the delays will put Labour at a disadvantage given the Maori Party which holds the seat yesterday selected its candidate Rangi McLean to replace former Maori Affairs Minister and former Co-leader Pita Sharples.

Labour's contenders for the candidacy were to be announced late this afternoon after three delays as the party waits for a TVNZ report into the actions of Mr Taurima.

He resigned as TVNZ's head of Maori programming in February after emails leaked to 3 News showed he was still involved in party meetings despite assuring his bosses he had given up his political aspirations.

Mr Taurima has denied his affiliation impacted on his work or on the programmes he oversaw.

TVNZ was expected to release its report today but last night Shane Te Pou of one of the party's branches which is affiliated to the Tamaki Makaurau Labour Electorate Committee said he understood that was unlikely to happen.

Labour Party General Secretary Tim Barnet acknowledged a further delay in the release of the report and therefore in the announcement of nominations was a real possibility.

Mr Te Pou said it was "crazy" the process was taking so long and was dependent on what happened with one candidate.

"Nominations close tomorrow but we won't have a candidate til mid May or the end of May. We're not the incumbent party, we're challenging for the seat and we won't have a Shane Jones as the candidate and I think we've placed ourselves in an unnecessary tough position, I just don't understand it at all.

"We shouldn't have delayed things around a particular candidate we should have thought about the overall picture and that not having a candidate in mid May when we've got an election in September is not good."

Mr Te Pou believed the issue should have been addressed through discussions between Mr Taurima and party leadership who could have asked him "is there anything in that report that is likely to embarrass you or us?".

"That could have been addressed at a very high level and certain assurances made and the process could have continued we should have had our selection by now and that's a huge issue to confront."

Teacher Will Flavell is also likely to seek the candidacy and another high profile broadcaster, Maori TV's Julian Wilcox is also likely to throw his hat in the ring, but only if Mr Taurima does not, the Herald understands.

The Maori Party last night it had selected South Auckland "stalwart" Rangi McLean to replace Dr Sharples as its Tamaki Makaurau candidate.

It also chose educationalist and Susan Cullen as its candidate for Hauraki Waikato.

Party President Naida Glavish said Mr McLean had "lived in the heart of the electorate for over forty years and has held a number of governance roles".

"I have known Rangi for a long time. He is an outstanding candidate and is regarded as an authority on tikanga and Maori cultural matters" said Mrs Glavish.

Tamaki Makaurau electorate co-chair George Ngatai acknowledged Dr Sharples.

She also said the party was "extremely proud" that Ms Cullen would be representing the Party in the Hauraki Waikato electorate.

"She is a dynamic, entrepreneurial, and staunch Maori woman. Susan has been a strong advocate for Maori education, particularly focusing on access to education, and the provision of culturally attuned education options for a diverse range of New Zealanders."

- NZ Herald

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