Tuariki Delamere, a onetimeTe Tai Rāwhiti MP and cabinet minister, will be standing for TOP in Auckland Central.
He replaces former TOP candidate Joshua Love, who is now standing as an independent.
Delamere of Te Whakatōhea, is one of the NZ First ‘tight-five’ who took out the Māori seats in the 1996 general election. MPs Tau Henare, Tuku Morgan, Rana Waitai and Tu Wyllie, formed the rest of that political frontline.
This was the first time a Māori-led party had taken all of the Māori seats, a feat that has never been repeated, although the Māori Party took out five out of seven seats in 2008.
As well as being immigration minister, Delamere worked with then treasurer Winston Peters to secure the first tranche of funding for Te Matatini in 1996.
At the time, Te Matatini, the largest cultural event in Aotearoa, had been operating with no government funding.
As TOP’s new immigration spokesperson, Delamere wants to change who the government is allowing to live to Aotearoa. He says the government has allowed migrants with no benefit to Aotearoa to come in droves.
“TOP welcomes immigration policies that will benefit New Zealand but will vigorously oppose immigration policies with no perceivable benefit to New Zealand,” Delamere says.
He is calling on the government to be honest, open and transparent in its immigration dealings.
“The current fiasco of 15,000 skilled migrant residence visa applications just sitting, not being processed is a gross indictment on the government,” he says.
“It is clear that many will be declined and told to return to their home country."
Since leaving politics, Delamere has founded an immigration consultancy and owns the Finale Restaurant & Cabaret on K’Road.
He is a survivor of bladder cancer, and had recently taken to YouTube, to raise awareness of what it is like for people with his ailment.
Delamere and Love will be running against Green MP Chloe Swarbrick and Labour candidate Helen Love. Swarbrick made headlines in 2017 after being the youngest MP to enter Parliament in 42 years on her party's list.
Since former National Party deputy Nikki Kaye's resignation as Auckland Central's MP, her party is yet to confirm a candidate for the vacated seat.