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Shane Jones quits politics

Shane Jones is quitting Labour, and politics.

The frontbencher has been offered the job of Pacific Economic Ambassador — a role created for him by National.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has confirmed he had head-hunted Mr Jones for the ambassadorial appointment.

Mr McCully told 3News that Mr Jones was the best man for the job.

Asked if National would benefit from taking a Labour high-flyer out of the game, the Foreign Affairs Minister said, "No one can make Shane Jones' personal and professional decisions for him."

Mr McCully said there was no National Party role for Mr Jones; he expected that if he took the job, he would remain "a creature of Labour" in the same manner NZ Ambassador to the US Mike Moore retained his affiliations to the party.

For his part, Mr Jones said the Pacific role was an area he was interested in, but that no contract had been signed.

Labour leader David Cunliffe, who met Mr Jones at the Bay of Islands' Waipu Hotel last night, says he expects the resignation will take effect in about a month.

"It's very interesting that this [Pacific Ambassador] role was created specifically for Shane Jones," Mr Cunliffe said.

Davis next on list
Assuming his successor wants to step up, Mr Jones will be replaced by the next on Labour's list — Kelvin Davis, the straight-up-and-down ex school principal who is also the party's candidate against Mana's Hone Harawira for the Te Tai Tokerau (Northland) Maori seat.

Mr Jones told OneNews "I was true to myself after I lost the leadership. I'm not able to give Labour the 100% that I ought to be giving. They need a team that will stay for the long term and I'm not in that space.

"The leadership has a bit to do with it, but also I'm 55 this year and I just want to go and do something else."

Mr Cunliffe is said to have been aware of Mr Jones' decision, but other senior Labour MPs were caught on the hop when approached by media. 

The Labour leader told The Paul Henry Show he was sorry to see his colleague quit but also that his departure is "in no way a disaster for us".

The man to save Labour
In September last year, Mr Jones lost a three-way fight to succeed David Shearer as Labour leader.

But the MP made middle New Zealand sit up and take notice in 2014 with his campaign alleging Australian-owned Countdown is bullying New Zealand businesses. 

The verdict of NBR columnist Matthew Hooton, and others, was that Mr Jones had displayed the kind of leadership his party needed for a come-from-behind election win. 

His broad appeal was illustrated in two NBR Business Pulse polls, one showing readers considered him the most business-friendly and economically-competent potential Labour leader, the other that NBR's member subscribers believed Mr Jones over Countdown.

NBR political editor Rob Hosking gave dibs to the man who had "fire in his belly" and a nose for an issue that would resonate with the wider public.

But it is understood Mr Jones did not rate his chances at overthrowing Mr Cunliffe, given Labour's new leadership election system that gives weight not just to MPs' votes but also party members, and affiliated unions.

Ever more indiscreet
The level of Mr Jones' frustration was revealed in March, when he made off-the-cuff comments about joining forces with Winston Peters.

The "two Maori boys from the north" could barnstorm the nation and secure 10% of the vote.

However, OneNews reports un-named Labour insiders saying Mr Jones has pledged to quit politics altogether and will not join another party.

Once was a high flyer
With his easy charm, Mr Jones connected with voters in way that so eludes David Cunliffe, or his predecessor David Shearer. And with his openess to business, the ex-Sealord chairman had the potential to move his party toward the centre, where elections are won.

But despite being groomed for leadership from a young age, and entering Parliament higher on Labour's list than any political novice before him, the Northlander came unstuck over controversy over Chinese man William Yan (aka Bill Lui) being granted citizenship while Mr Jones was Associate Immigration Minister in the Helen Clark government. He was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing over the affair, but it led to him being temporarily demoted from Labour's frontbench.

Mr Jones again got into hot water for using his Parliamentary credit card to pay for what he called "red blooded" hotel movies in 2010.

Less obviously, "He has also been somewhat semi-detached from the more precious and politically correct wing of Labour – rather a large wing, at that," Mr Hosking noted in February.

"Mr Jones also favours mining, and has often, and publicly, given Green MPs terse reminders of the facts of economic life."

Those lessons will now go begging.

Comments and questions
25

Jones was one of the few Labour MPs worth listening to. He's a big loss.

Deft politics if he has indeed gone to a job created by National.

A big waka jump

Smart by National creating a wine & cheese role to take him out

Shows no principle + no belief labour will get in (+fire him)

What sort of job for Kim now

Wallet voting usually only in the month before election

Oh, come on ! He will be back ! Give him 3 to 6 months and he will be the knight in shining armour for the Labour Party.

Blame the feminists and gay MP's for this departure of probably their most effective MP.

Now for the final nail - the stupid rules on the labour list composition is going to see a selection based on sex and sexual preference rather than people representing the vast majority of New Zealanders who have been long time labour workers and supporters.

Labour - is showing itself as the party that will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory,

Are you referring to 2020?.

Nope - awaiting the shambles that will be the Labour list due to be published in the next month or so, if the party leadership follow through supporting the resolutions passed at the last Labour Party conference.

I think he has made a very sensible decision to quit Labour. He's wasting his time with that cold, disaffected and motley lot. But I do think it is very sad that he is quitting politics altogether as I believe that he had an important and very relevant voice and a role to play in national politics. What a shame he didn't join National in the first place. He may have been in Cabinet for the last 6 years, and with support for and from the Maori party while in Cabinet, he might have achieved a lot more for Maori.

But somehow I feel the dark arts are afoot in the background here and I can't help asking myself, did he jump or was he pushed? And if he was pushed, who wielded the patu? My bet would be on Labour.

But somehow I feel the dark arts are afoot in the background here and I can't help asking myself, did he jump or was he pushed? And if he was pushed, who wielded the patu?"

I can smell the scent of the 'Chief of Staff" around this affair.

Comments 2 & 3 - Not deft politics or smart, but an abuse of office. Using taxpayers money to buy off opposition politicians is a clear sign that we are in danger of losing our freedom. Time to wake up.

Like Prebble and Douglas before him, Jones shows his true colours, Labour remains true to its principles again and stays loyal to its own. The pendulum continues to swing. And the Greens smile as will Labour in September.

Would have never occurred under Helen , but with the rich pr&$@k from Herne Bay taking over...wrecking the party....bet he's sitting smugly in his multi million dollar Herne bay waterfront mansion gloating to himself.....failing to notice that he will be unemployed in December....very sad to see Shane go. An old but dear friend of centre (what's) left politics.

Jones was over powering cunliffe.
This will be an interesting period ahead.
Shane was helping keep labour relevant but in order to win cunliffe needs to be seen to lead. He was not leading.
Will cunliffe step forward now he has no competition for the limelight?

"John, this Shane Jones is killing our supermarket operation with his allegations in the House, can't you do something?"

More like; "Shane, you're making me look bad in front of everyone, you are not the leader, I am, stop out doing me on everything."

Is Shane taking the PEA?

"Pacific Economic Ambassador ", indeed.

Damned shame. He would have made an excellent Minister of Commerce in the Cunliffe administration, probably

Whilst the above proves Cunliffe has no idea what’s going on in Labour, below puts it in context with a smile:

The 2014 election in New Zealand was too close to call. Neither John Key nor David Cunliffe had enough votes to win. There was much talk about ballot recounting, court challenges, etc., but a week-long ice fishing competition seemed the sportsman like way to settle things. The candidate who caught the most fish at the end of the week would win the election.

After much back and forth discussion, it was decided that the contest would take place on a remote frozen lake in the lower south island high country..

There were to be no observers present, and both men were to be sent out separately on this isolated lake and return at 5 P.M. with their catch for counting and verification by a team of neutral parties.

At the end of the first day, John Key returned to the starting line, and he had 10 fish.

Soon, David Cunliffe returned and had no fish. Everyone assumed he was just having a bad day or something and hopefully, he would catch up the next day.
At the end of the 2nd day John came in with 20 fish, and David came in again with none.

That evening the Labourites got together secretly with David and said, "We think that John Key is a low-life, cheatin' son-of-a-gun. Tomorrow don't bother fishing. Just spy on him, and see just how he is cheating.'

The next night (after John returns with 50 fish), the Labourites got together for the report of how the Nationals were cheating.

David said, "You are not going to believe this . . . he's cutting holes in the ice”.

Pretty good indication that even Labour knows it has no hope of forming a Government any time soon..

Good luck for the future Mr jones and thanks for your contribution to NZ's parliament. It is NZ's problem, not yours, that New Zealand politics seem to have no room for the likes of yourself, Mr Tamahire, Bob Jones and others who understand people. Maybe too intelligent and not self serving enough for the establishment? I don't know but I'd like others to comment. Because it was the status quo that forced you out. Of that I'm sure.

As one star fades so another one burns brighter.
"Come take the mantle, Kris Faafoi".

No different from the dozen (or more) National MP's that have jumped ship already. All it means is that Nationals ship is sinking faster than Labour's ship.

It is very different. National signalled and has announced changes in an orderly process of renewal. Shane Jones dropped and ran less than 6 months from the election with no warning and after denying he was looking to leave Labour. It was in the media before most of his party knew. He is also leaving before the election instead of seeing out his term.

Labour is finished as a force in politics. The working man has it pretty good these days ... fringe issues like gay "rights", minority affairs, trucks in the fast lane just don't get much mileage.

We need a People's Party that cares about things real middle-class people care about ... like nosy govt. departments, high taxes, bad roads, bad teachers, expensive beer and bad sports teams.