Struggling candidate’s desperate bid to establish credentials

What do you do when your candidacy is struggling and people think you’re the wrong fit for the job?

Re-establish your credentials.

In the Labour party, this means a hard swing to the left and a good dose of economic illiteracy.

Two years after being made Labour party candidate for Rotorua, Tamati Coffey has signed his business up to the living wage campaign.

Ponsonby Rd Lounge Bar is the first in Rotorua be an accredited living wage employer.

The Eat Streat venue, owned by television personality Tamati Coffey and his partner Tim Smith, opened just over a year ago. The pair said they wanted to “bring something different to Rotorua’s hospitality industry.”

“I’m really happy,” Mr Coffey said.

“For me, it’s saying to our workers, ‘We are a partnership and here’s your fair share’, as opposed to ‘Thanks for your hard work, your peanuts are in the bank’.

“I’m a firm believer that the way you treat your employees is reflective of the way they treat your customers. That’s why I know our clientele are going to love the heightened experience of being looked after by our living wage backed and valued team.”

I bet clientele will be more interested in knowing who paid for it.

After talking to other Living Wage employers, the move to the calculated pay rate, currently set at a minimum of $19.80 – $4.55 per/hr more than the government’s minimum wage – only made good economic sense, Mr Smith said.

Tim “Somebody” Smith is better known for calling an award winning journalist a “nobody”. It is hard to believe he’s suddenly got in touch with his proletarian roots.

In fact, it is hard to believe any of this comes from sincere belief. If they honestly believed their bar should be a living wage employer then they would have started out this way in early 2015. Instead, it has taken over a year for them to make this decision. Tamati has been extolling the virtues of the living wage for even longer than that.

So why now?

One wonders if the Labour party is disillusioned with all the bad press Mr Coffey and his husband are earning them. Gaffe after gaffe are slowly taking their toll. Meanwhile, supporters have been drifting away and turning to other political parties.

So is this a bid for relevancy? It could well be.

It is only a matter of time before the Labour party asks if Tamati Coffey is the best candidate they can find to represent their left-wing radical workers’ party in Rotorua. After all, he is a business owner and minor TV celebrity who has little to do with the working class. This could have all been forgotten if he had won them the Rotorua electorate in 2014. With even Labour’s staunchest members now realising this won’t happen in 2017 either, it is only a matter of time before someone challenges him for the candidacy (there is always someone deluded enough to think they will win). Which probably explains why it is that Tamati Coffey is trying to strong-arm the Waiariki LEC into taking him as their candidate, despite objections that the LEC wants a contested selection.

Tamati Coffey is just trying to re-establish his credentials as tribal Labour…and that is why he is casting about for a new electorate to try to represent.

Meanwhile, Todd McClay will be having a good chuckle.


– Steam N Mud

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