Tamati Coffey’s husband insults a journalist and life long Labour voter


The pressure must be getting to Tamati Coffey and his husband, Tim Smith, in Rotorua.

A seasoned journalist in the area, Phil Campbell of Steam n’ Mud was asking some questions from Rotorua Labour and Tamiti Coffey when Tim Smith decided to hit “reply all” and insult the journalist, who was copied in on the email.

First here are the questions. It started with a question to Haydn Marriner who runs Rotorua Labour on Facebook, and someone who used that Facebook page to defame me.

From: Phil Campbell
To: Hadyn Marriner

May 19, 2016 at 9:29 AM

Kia ora Hadyn,

It has been brought to my attention (and I did wonder) that signs above the Tutanekai St from which Rotorua Labour operated last elections remain, though I understand you have shifted premises.

As I understand it, the apparent permanency of these signs maybe in breach of the Electoral Act 1993. As I also understand it the Electoral Commission has been in touch with the Labour Party Secretary General. The sign(s) to which I refer is/are above the overhang area, though below at pedestrian street view  it appears reference to your previous occupation has been removed.

To comply with the Act, do you intend to remove the signage referred? If so, when is that removal likely?

In fairness, I’m also aware the local branch of the National Party has in the last year shifted premises, but National Party signs in their old building in Amohau St appear to have been removed or covered over (though the cerulean blue colour is a reminder of once was.

Yours sincerely
Nga mihi
Phil Campbell.

Hadyn Marriner replied and copied in Tamati Coffey:

From: Haydn Marriner
To: Phil Campbell ; Tamati Coffey

Saturday, May 21, 2016 1:18 PM

Subject: Re: Signs of the Times from Phil Campbell

Kia Ora Phil

Thank you for your correspondence. In response to your questions, the signs are to be painted over, weather permitting as soon as possible.

We are always happy to comply with the electoral commission on any matter.

Thank you again for contacting us on this matter. We look forward to reading more of your coverage of the up coming local body election.

Warm Regards
Haydn Marriner
Co-Chair of Rotorua Labour

A simple reply to which Phil Campbell wanted some clarification and asks about Tamati’s claims about Kiwi360

From: Phil Campbell

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Kia ora and morena Hadyn,


From where physically does Labour Rotorua operate an office these days?

Can you also add to local scuttlebutt that Tamati Coffey is eyeing the Labour seat of Mt Roskill is Phil Goff succeeds in Auckland Mayoralty bid? A yes or no could still wagging tongues and speculation.
Further some surprise that this part of Te Puke referred below as a FB entry is considered in the Rotorua Labour electorate, as follows:

Nga mihi
Phil C.

It is sad to hear that Kiwi360 – an icon of the Rotorua Electorate, one so famous it even had its own stamp – has been brought and closed for good, with the site set to become the corporate offices of a kiwifruit company.

Kiwi360 was a fantastic employer and tourist venture for Te Puke, giving cruise ship visitors to our region a fun insight into one of our signature export industries and being a frequent pit-stop on any domestic road trip!

We understand the families who actually ran the attraction on behalf of the former owners are looking to start another ‘Kiwifruit Country at another location in future, and we wish them all the best.

Hadyn Marriner replies and somewhere along the line Tim Smith has been copied in.

From: Hadyn Marriner

22/05/2016, at 11:32 AM

Kia Ora Phil

Labour is currently not operating a set office in Rotorua as we have no MP based in our city – a situation we aim to remedy.

Tamati has not indicated any inclination to stand in the Mt Roskill seat, should Phil Goff succeed in his bid for the Auckland Mayoralty. Labour Party Candidate for Epsom Michael Wood has put his hand up so far as a possible nomination and that was made public sometime ago. Further potential candidates for the seat are not known to us at this stage if there are any for the Mt Roskill seat.

As for Kiwi 360 – while the geographic location is just outside the limits of the electorate, the vast majority of the staff do live within it – in Te Puke, hence the post. Rotorua Labour is more concerned that jobs and icons are being lost than boundaries, regardless of wether or not the staff and people affected live within our electorate such as the people of Te Puke. Getting tripped up on one minor detail is missing the bigger picture, which is jobs for Te Puke people and the loss of a tourism of that community.

I hope that helps answer your questions Phil. As always I am happy to assist you where ever I can.

Warm Regards
Haydn Marriner
Rotorua Labour

And this is where it all tees off, Tim Smith replies to all including Phil Campbell:

From: Tim Smith
To: “haydnjm1
Cc: Phil Campbell, Tamati Coffey
Date: 22 May 2016 at 11:42:27 AM NZST

Subject: Re: Signs of the Times from Phil Campbell

Ducking hell. Is he bored? Or is he obsessed with labour/Tamati? He’s a nobody wasting lots of energy trawling the Internet for links to what we’re doing.

Sent from my iPhone

The reply from Phil Campbell is epic.

From: Phil Campbell
To: Tim Smith,

I will answer your email in two parts.

1: My role as a journalist, humble as it is and offensive to many, led me to ask questions of the Rotorua Labour Party on several matters, the answers to which have proved satisfactory. I have not until today “wasted lots of energy” trawling the Internet nor am I “obsessed with labour/Tamati”; indeed, today was my first visit mainly as a matter of journalistic curiosity. I took an interest in the Kiwifruit 360 as for some part of my life many years ago I lived at Paengaroa recovering from serious farm/helicopter flight accident. Thus I came to know Paengaroa/Te Puke environs, appreciating it as politically Prussian blue National Party territory on the periphery of the Bay of Plenty Coast. So to claim the area as “Rotorua icon” naturally invited a query. Unless journalistically necessary, I plan no further visits

2: Use of the term ‘nobody’ could be taken as a throwaway line. But in context of today’s messages that seems unlikely. Your observations are prefaced with ‘Ducking hell”. Why not ‘Fucking hell’? As one who has worked on farms, shorn, fenced, seagulled on wharves, factories, paved and painted and landscaped and picked fruit (the working life of a nobody, in fact) such terms do not offend your correspondent. Nobody? It connotes variables on life. The person you call nobody today may be somebody tomorrow and, in politics often, nobody the next day.

Let’s look at examples of nobodiness:
Would Nelson Lord Rutherford have remained a nobody had he not split the atom leading eventually to the flattening of two Japan cities to end WW2, and knowledge of the split atom led to a stand-off in the second cold war?

Had Pontius Pilate (the father of a modern day fitness craze in case you don’t know) pardoned a sect leader, would Jesus Christ’s non-crucifixion led to a global religion?

Had in 1588 (August 5) the Spanish armada not encountered a severe tempest and defeated the lighter and numerically inferior English fleet would the world know about Shakespeare, remain non Catholic with no British colonies (certainly no James Cook) and possibly no United States?

Have you read The Diary of a Nobody? It’s a 19th Century classic by two brothers, described as a “glory for us all”. Here is a plug for the nobodies of this world, the nobodies you care to declaim, to depress a metaphorical heel to scrunch the head of an average (in my case a below average) nobody who displeases you. Don’t think you are unique. Many journalists who humbly and earnestly and honestly ply their trade face such witherings.

As your shard is clearly in defence of a presumably local political party maintaining a profile amid an election cycle, it may pay to remember that the nobody you in your infinite judgement decry could potentially be the lifetime Labour voter, the person who led strikes for better pay and conditions in Rotorua (at a minor level) in a Rotorua workplace, represented union interests at personal grievance hearings and became president of a Bay of Plenty union of workers. You may have been referring to a journalist who interviewed several Prime Ministers and Opposition leaders over the last 20 years and dozens of high profile subjects. Such is the lot of a journalistic nobody.

Every three years nobodies over a certain age can cast a vote. The nobody ‘haves’ may use their wherewithal to persuade the vote, but you should remember, whoever you are, and I assume you are a somebody, the ‘have nots’ carry the day, carry the ultimate decision as to by whom we are to be governed. Nobodies are like that.

Yours sincerely

Phil ‘Nobody’ Campbell.

So, Tim Smith has taken it upon himself to abuse a journalist who on all appearances was being rather friendly, has a background of support, over decades, and a former union boss. Phil Campbell has been a journalist for decades. He was a press gallery journalist at one stage. Later editor of the Rotorua Review. More recently he was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for services to sport and journalism. Not the sort of person you want to call a nobody.

At some point Labour really are going to have to deal with the continual stuff ups of Tamati Coffey and his husband.

I’m not sure pissing off local, supportive Labour voting journalists is going to be a successful strategy long term.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.