Labour's broadcaster-turned-candidate Tamati Coffey is
working overtime to convince voters he has political substance
to go with his familiar face.
The former Breakfast weatherman and New Zealand's
Got Talent host appeared to be more recognisable to the
public than his leader David Cunliffe on the streets of
Rotorua yesterday, earning kisses and car toots wherever he
But Mr Coffey said he was still being pigeon-holed as a
"That's my challenge, to actually get out and talk to people
and show them there was this whole other guy before I was the
TV guy. I was the guy who was the president of the students'
association and highly political at university and worked for
the regional council. I was on this road well before I was in
He joined in with a haka at Rotorua Primary School, but could
not coax his leader to join him.
Mr Cunliffe did, however impress some by speaking semi-fluent
te reo for the first two minutes of his speech.
The local MP for National Todd McClay should start "thinking
about life as a list MP", Mr Cunliffe said.
That result would be a huge upset. Mr McClay was easily
re-elected for a second term in 2011, and National nearly
tripled Labour's party vote in the electorate.
The primary school kids could barely stay seated when Mr
Cunliffe promised them all personal digital devices if he was
Unfortunately for Mr Cunliffe, only a handful of the people
in the assembly hall could vote.
- By Isaac Davison of the New Zealand Herald