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Shane Jones farewells Labour, rejects ‘Green Gospel’

Departing Labour Party front bencher Shane Jones says while the Labour Party can still count on his personal vote, it was not in his best interests to represent the party in Parliament any longer – and that’s why he resigned.

Talking to Q+A’s Susan Woods this morning, Mr Jones said he had begun to feel his outbursts were a diversion, and he was no longer speaking to ‘core values’ on “mining, pro-development and pro-industry”.

“Of course I see the Greens will have a significant role at some point in time in a centre-left coalition – can I be an honest steward to that sort of coalition?  No I can’t, so I’m not hanging around,” he said.

While Mr Jones said he had “absolutely no time for espousing the green gospel”,  he said he still supported the Labour Party’s aims around the welfare of people, and defended his history in the party as someone who had stood up for past Labour party leaders like Helen Clark when they had made decisions unpopular with Maoridom in general.

He had become a part of Labour as a result of the Springbok Tour in the early 1980s, and had warmed to the towering figures of Geoffery Palmer and David Lange – “but that part is well and truly gone”.

He confessed that some would be disappointed that he would not be the first Maori Prime Minister, but “to capture John key’s seat first I had to capture David Cunliffe’s seat – that game is over and out”.

Mr Jones – who said he had not signed on for the international fisheries management role yet - demurred when asked about a return to politics, except to say he wished his colleagues well and planned a crayfish, wine and ‘Countdown party” before saying ‘Haere Ra’ to Parliament.