Labour shuts out Taurima after report

Former TVNZ broadcaster Shane Taurima will not be running for Parliament as a Labour Party candidate, the party says.

The ruling New Zealand council held a meeting late last night to decide whether Mr Taurima, the former head of Maori programming at TVNZ, would be allowed to seek the nomination for Tamaki Makaurau.

Mr Taurima, one of the most experienced Maori journalists in the country, required a waiver to become a candidate because he had not been a Labour member for 12 months.

He resigned from his role at the broadcaster in February after leaked emails showed he and three staff in the Maori unit had used company resources for Labour Party planning and campaigning.

An independent report into political bias at TVNZ released yesterday criticised Mr Taurima over a clear conflict of interest and misuse of resources - including a $343 credit card bill for flying someone to a Labour meeting.

The outcome of the meeting found against Mr Taurima.

A statement from the Labour Party said granting the waiver to Mr Taurima was "not in the best interests of the party''.

"Labour's New Zealand Council, the party's ruling body, met last night and declined to grant a waiver to Shane Taurima, meaning that his nomination for Labour's candidacy in the Tamaki Makaurau seat cannot proceed.

"The council resolved that granting Mr Taurima the waiver was not in the best interests of the party, and in reaching that resolution took into account the contents and conclusions of yesterday's TVNZ report,'' the statement said.

Labour said the council was due to meet on Thursday night to discuss whether nominations for the party's Tamaki Makaurau seat will be reopened.

Maori TV's Julian Wilcox was believed to be interested in the seat, however was unsure about leaving his journalism career without a solid chance at election.

TVNZ report findings:

*No evidence of political bias in TVNZ's Maori and Pacific programming.

*TVNZ resources, including offices, used for Labour Party campaigning and planning.

*TVNZ's management should have asked more questions when Shane Taurima returned after seeking Labour nomination in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election.

*Taurima was involved in "extensive'' Labour Party political activity soon after returning to the job last year.

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