By Willie Jackson
Well my old mate John Tamihere is looking to rejoin the Labour Party and that prospect has sent the different factions in the party into a tailspin.
I've heard that the women, the rainbow faction, the unionists and even the Maori caucus are opposed to him standing again.
JT has done some tremendous work since he left Parliament, particularly in our communities where he is the chief executive of the Waipareira Trust which has looked after thousands of Maori whanau, in the media where we co-host a national talkback show and on television with his own show.
His profile has not diminished.
I've worked closely with him since 1996.
Our careers have followed a similar path in broadcasting, work among urban Maori and in politics so I think I know him better than anyone other than his wife.
When we first entered Parliament in 1999 John was touted as the "great brown hope" with a chance of becoming the first Maori prime minister.
He did some very good things for Maori during his time. He was responsible for making changes to the Ture Whenua Maori Act that gave Maori more opportunities of using their land.
He got positive changes for urban Maori and as the minister of statistics, Maori thought he was the best ever.
Unfortunately his political career was marked with mistakes and ill-discipline.
He was caught out by zealous journalists like Ian Wishart, David Fisher and Duncan Garner who at times made JT out to be a misogynist, union and gay-hating right winger.
He's not really like that although his wicked sense of humour hasn't exactly helped at times.
Since leaving Parliament, he's managed to keep up a strong support base and constituency who are ever-hopeful of his return to politics. Even our RadioLIVE employer embraced that prospect and ran a JT for PM campaign.
John wants to take out the Waitakere seat held by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett and if he gets the Labour nomination he should easily win.
But ironically, winning the party nomination will be tougher than winning the seat simply because Labour doesn't want JT.
Yet if any party needs him it is definitely Labour.
JT would bring back a lot of the blue collar Pakeha and Maori voters who have deserted the party because of its political correctness and obsession with issues like smacking, smoking and gay rights.
He'd invigorate a Maori caucus who've virtually disappeared under the Maori Party and Hone Harawira rule. And most of all he would give Labour a chance at government with the strong support he brings.
So come on you Labour lot, it's time to move on.
Forgive and forget and give the great brown hope John Tamihere another opportunity.
Auckland Now, 12th October 2012