Monday April 21, 2014   Last updated 19:03PM
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John Tamihere is back

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Opinion: True to form John Tamihere has celebrated his re-entry back into the Labour Party by insulting a couple of women.

When asked by a young TV3 news reporter if he was a misogynist, homophobe, sexist or fattist, JT's response was "go and jump in the lake, you stupid little girl".

Which, as far as I'm concerned is fair enough.

I mean why should JT have answered such stupid inane questions?

OK, the questions were asked after he foolishly labelled Paula Bennett a "fat girl". And he was branded a misogynist by Tainui MP Nanaia Mahuta, but still I would have expected more from TV3 News.

Yes, his comments were out of line as far as Bennett is concerned but Bennett is a big girl (no pun intended!) - as tough as they come and can give as good as she gets.

She's hardly an example of political correctness and just last week was as politically incorrect as JT when she told Labour's Jacinda Adern to "zip it, sweetie" in Parliament.

The media should concentrate on what JT brings to Labour rather than focus in on a couple of ill-advised comments - and what he brings is considerable.

Finally Labour has someone who can connect with the blue collar vote. The man on the street, your average Kiwi - that's who JT represents.

They like his language, his humour. They too would call the TV3 News reporter a stupid girl and unfortunately Paula Bennett a fat girl.

That doesn't make it right but that's the reality of the working class and Labour have to work out if they want to recapture that vote.

Within Labour you have very strong gay and female factions.

JT will bring balance to the Labour team and his acceptance as a member offers them a golden chance to reclaim the disillusioned voters who deserted them because of their obsession with social issues.

And while JT is their champion, he's not exactly a "boofhead". He's a qualified lawyer, former cabinet minister, media personality and chief executive of the most successful urban Maori authority, the Waipareira Trust.

So we are not talking about some politically incorrect, sexist meathead here.

We all know about his political incorrectness and silly comments in the past.

But the past is exactly that and now Labour should concentrate on seeing if they can get the best out of him and encourage him to stand in 2014.

All constituencies have their leaders: The old people have Winston, big business has John Key, the gays have Grant Robertson and Louisa Wall, Maori have Sharples, Turia and Harawira, the Pacific Islanders have Su'a William Sio but your average Kiwi has no-one.

JT is the leader of that group.

Labour should use him - or they will lose him.

2414

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