24 Feb 2020

'Dancing with the Stars' could wrong-foot aspiring politician Hannah Tamaki

6:31 pm on 24 February 2020

Politicians who have appeared on Dancing with the Stars over the past 15 years say the publicity could backfire for would-be politician Hannah Tamaki.

Hannah Tamaki

Destiny Church pastor and leader of a new political party Hannah Tamaki is in the running for the show's next season. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

RNZ understands the Destiny Church pastor and leader of a new political party is in the running to be a contestant in the show's next season, which is due to air in a few months.

Some fans of the show say they'll boycott it due to Tamaki's well-documented xenophobic and homophobic views.

A rollcall of the country's lesser-known celebrities have appeared on Dancing with the Stars since the reality television show first aired in 2005.

Two years ago, ACT Party leader David Seymour made it all the way to the semi-final. At the time he spent 30 hours a week on the ballroom floor, while working full time.

Seymour said he would not attempt a nationally televised dance-off in an election year.

"It is gruelling and it is ultimately a good way to get to know people and let people see you but election year is about helping people make choices about the direction of the country. If they don't know you, or they know you for the reasons at the start of an election year then you're in big trouble."

He said Tamaki's appearance would provide entertainment in an election year.

"I'm sure that they're looking for a bit of a car crash and no doubt she will provide that."

MediaWorks will not yet name the 12 celebrities getting on the dance floor for the show but RNZ understands Tamaki is likely in the line-up.

The company carries the Rainbow Tick, showing it is committed to keep making its workplace better for LGBTTQIA+ staff.

Fans of the show have expressed concern that an organisation carrying the certification could promote someone with outspoken views against the community.

Rainbow Tick said it would not comment until the cast had been announced.

Former politician and Labour Party member Georgina Beyer was the first transgender person to dance in the show - in 2005.

"It'll be fun and it'll be gruelling, the physical exercise required in it is quite major so she'll come out looking like Twiggy by the end of it. My essential feeling is it's a great opportunity for profile raising in an election year," she said.

Despite disagreeing with the Destiny Church leaders, she would still watch Dancing with the Stars regardless of the contestants' own opinions.

"I've been in battle with Destiny Church and in particular Brian Tamaki for about 20 years now and so no I do not agree with all their views and certainly not the ones about the rainbow community."

Tamaki would not return RNZ's calls.

The Electoral Commission said appearing on Dancing with the Stars would not count as election advertising or an election programme, because there are exemptions under the Electoral Act for editorial content, including radio and television programmes.

Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey and his husband became proud first-time parents last year.

Coffey won Dancing with the Stars in 2009, raising $260,000 for Rainbow Youth.

"I've heard that over the more recent years they reformed their views on the rainbow community and if she's thinking about doing it, maybe she might think about taking up one of our rainbow community charities as their charity," Coffey said.

"I look forward to her stepping outside of her comfort zone and giving it a go."

Coffey said the publicity could go either way.

"Some people could look fondly on it but then again if it becomes a colossal mess on live television it could work in the opposite direction."

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