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Tamihere comments are unacceptable, Shearer says

Published: 12:15PM Tuesday December 04, 2012 Source: Fairfax

Labour leader David Shearer says John Tamihere's comments would be unacceptable for a member of his caucus, but he would not rule him out as a candidate for the party in 2014.

Tamihere, who is a talk back host on Radio Live, was readmitted to the party at the weekend, and afterwards said he would not rule out seeking Labour's nomination for a seat at the next election.

But he has since said Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is "fat" and called a gallery reporter Tova O'Brien "silly".

On his way into the weekly caucus meeting of Labour MPs today, Shearer said he did not agree with Tamihere and many of his comments.

"But at the end of the day he is also a shock jock. It's what he does for a living.''

If he wanted to be a candidate he would have to front up and explain himself, but there was a queue of people who wanted to be Labour MPs.

"We will take the best person for the job and that will be decided on a proper selection...I'm not going to express an opinion about one candidate against another. That is not my job as the leader."

Asked if he would be embarrassed if he was picked as a candidate he said it was hypothetical, although it would be unacceptable for a member of the caucus to make the sorts of comments Tamihere had made.

Shearer said Tamihere was one of thousands of members of the Labour party but as leader he did not express an opinion on every utterance of those members.

It was up to the party to take any action against Tamihere, if he broke the constitution, not for the leader.

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