BUSINESSDESK: Long-time Labour Party political adviser John Pagani has left parliament to become external relations manager for New Zealand Oil & Gas.
A controversial figure along with his wife Josie, who was an unsuccessful Labour candidate at the last two elections, Mr Pagani has been targeted in recent months by factions on the left of the party who saw the pair as encouraging new leader David Shearer to centrist or right-leaning policy positions.
Rumours of his departure first surfaced yesterday on the left-wing Tumeke blog, written by former student radio impresario Martyn "Bomber" Bradbury, who called Pagani's move "the first signal that the right-wing side step of Shearer's leadership has been halted", leading to expressions of relief from readers.
Mr Pagani is understood to have left Mr Shearer's office some weeks ago and had been working more closely with Labour's finance spokesman, David Parker.
The pigeon-holing of the Paganis as coming from the right of the party has occurred despite the fact they were founder members of Jim Anderton's New Labour Party, which split from Labour in protest over the policies of then Finance Minister Roger Douglas, and were prime movers in the left wing political party, the Alliance.
Pagani replaces long-serving NZOG external relations manager Chris Roberts, who is now at Tourism New Zealand.