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Tamihere confirms bid for Auckland mayoralty

John Tamihere says the government is not doing enough for Auckland and he wants to change that as he confirms he will run for the mayoralty.

The former Labour minister, and current head of several Māori organisations, has made a formal announcement in West Auckland this morning.

He will run alongside councillor Christine Fletcher who has been a former Auckland mayor and National minister.

Mr Tamihere said Aucklanders have been unfairly taxed for petrol under what he called "Goff's Gas Tax" and have had many other stealth taxes via the council.

The pair say they also want to make the council more transparent and give more power back to local boards.
John Tamihere's background

John Tamihere, 59, has been in the news for three decades.

He has been the chief executive of the Waipareira Trust, on and off, since 1991, and has been a prominent advocate for urban Māori who do not necessarily strongly identify with a particular iwi.

The trust provides services to the Waitakere community, mostly for free. Part of its focus is on young people and young parents in particular.

He was also a rugby league administrator in the 1990s.

Seen as a high-flier he was picked by Labour to stand in the Hauraki seat in 1999 and was in Cabinet three years later, as Minister of Youth Affairs and Statistics.

Although his portfolios were not high-profile ones, he was a controversial figure. In 2004 he was stood down from Cabinet after it was revealed he was paid an untaxed $195,000 golden handshake on leaving the Waipareira Trust. The Serious Fraud Office launched an inquiry into his work as chief executive of the trust, but he was eventually cleared of any wrong-doing. However he was not invited back into the Cabinet.

In 2005 he was in hot water after a magazine interview where he suggested Labour was promoting too many women MPs whom he referred to as "front-bums". After comments he made regarding the Holocaust, then Prime Minister Helen Clark put him on leave and suggested he look for other work.

Mr Tamihere did stand again in the 2005 election but was beaten in Hauraki by Māori Party co-leader Pita Sharples.

He returned to work for the Waipareira Trust, and in 2007 ran unsuccessfully for the Mayoralty of Waitakere.

He then became a talkback radio host, co-hosting a daily Radio Live programme with now Employment Minister Willie Jackson.

In 2013, he interviewed on air a friend of a woman who claimed to have been raped while drunk, asking her why the girls had been drinking and were out so late. Radio Live stood the pair down from the show, and when Mr Jackson returned to air, it was with a different co-host.

Mr Tamihere sued Mediaworks which subsequently apologised to him.

Mr Tamihere was also an advocate for his brother, David Tamihere who was convicted of the murder of Swedish tourists Sven Hoglin and Heidi Paakkonen. David Tamihere has always claimed to be innocent and in 2017 a secret witness was found guilty of perjury at his trial.
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