Shane Jones still backs David Cunliffe
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Labour MP and former leadership candidate Shane Jones is standing behind David Cunliffe despite a horror week for the Labour leader.
Mr Jones, Labour’s spokesman for regional development and Māori Affairs, says Mr Cunliffe has “fronted up” over his use of a secret trust to solicit donations for his leadership campaign and the party stands “united” behind him.
“David took a difficult and honest decision and fronted up to the media that there was a collision between what the interpretations were in respect to meeting our party obligation and Sir Maartin Wevers, who runs the registry for Parliament,” Mr Jones told NBR.
“At the end of the day, Dave handled it - in difficult circumstances - to the satisfaction of our caucus, which flushed out whatever ambiguities that were there ... that’s all we could ask of the guy.”
However, Mr Cunliffe still faces questions over why he initially failed to declare an investment trust to Parliament's Register of Pecuniary Interests.
Mr Cunliffe invested in the ICSL Trust in March 2012. Set up by ASB Bank, ICSL reportedly manages $8 billion on behalf of 20,000 clients - an average of $400,000 per investor.
He did not declare he was a beneficiary of the ICSL Trust when he registered his financial interests for the annual Parliamentary Register of MPs' Pecuniary Interests for the year to January 31, 2013.
For his part, Mr Jones says he disclosed all donations of more than $500, as required.
“What Sir Maarten Wevers required of me I have already given him, and if it’s inadequate he will come back to me. If I have to do anything else to meet the obligations of the standing orders I will do so.”
Mr Jones said that the Labour Party understands they only have a short opportunity to build some momentum before the next election, which he says can only be achieved by being united.
“But I will not acquiesce or tolerate any discussion that feeds into the narrative that [NBR columnist] Matthew Hooton is pushing."