EXCLUSIVE: #NeverShane

By   /   February 3, 2017  /   50 Comments

This has not been an easy piece for me to write. Watching in mounting horror as somebody – or something – you love and care deeply about gears up to do something self-destructive is never easy. And yet, that’s the apparent position which quite a few of us dedicated New Zealand Firsters appear to be in right now.

Unless you’ve been living on the dark side of the Moon for the past few years, you’ll most likely be aware of the swirling rumours that Shane Jones intends to mount a Parliamentary comeback at this year’s Election with New Zealand First. The media have consistently been reporting this notion for much of the last two years, in line with tips disseminated by a certain figure in NZ First’s Leader’s Office. And, for that matter, supported by things seen with their own eyes – Jones appearing with Winston at the latter’s Northland victory party, for instance; or Jones’ now-wife acting as Winston’s campaign manager for the same race.

But up until relatively recently, I was mostly content to dismiss speculation of Jones’ political necromancy as being empty media stirmongering. A sensationalist impulse looking for a story’s spine to shiver up. And not least because it appeared so self-evidently stupid for NZ First to even think about running Jones as a candidate.

That all changed late last month when I received independent confirmation from a number of different directions of Jones gearing up to announce his (NZF) candidacy. This was initially pegged to take place in somewhere around two months’ time – i.e. at or after the contract-period of his South Pacific Ambassadorship ran out (due to its strictures on political neutrality).

However, possibly in reaction to a growing chorus of disquiet within NZ First over Jones (which, I confess, I’ve played a certain role in stoking), it was then stated that the date had been moved forward. Most probably to the annual Waitangi Day BBQ which Jones holds every year at his property in Northland. Now, at this point I must reiterate that this date for the announcement – February the 4th – is not certain. It’s based on good information from highly placed sources who are usually solidly reliable. But as with everything concerning the upper echelons of NZ First, secrecy and subterfuge are draped like a fine double-breasted suit. In any case, even if we don’t see fireworks this weekend (either on the 4th or the 6th) – April (the other and perhaps more conservative date mooted) is not far away.

That’s why this week has seen a fulminating flurry of frenetic activity from quite a number of people within NZ First. We feel that the clock is counting down on this matter, and we’re anxious to ensure our voices are heard by Party decision makers. To that end, many of us have been writing letters to the Party’s Board of Directors requesting that they either i) clarify that Jones’ candidacy is not happening; or, ii) take into consideration our rather negative perspectives on him when making the determination under s44(a) of the Party Constitution as to whether not he’ll be allowed to stand as a candidate. [Jones, for what it’s worth, is not – as far as anybody seems to be aware – an actual Party member, and would require special Board dispensation in order to put his name forward for candidacy under the aforementioned section]

We can but hope that Democracy in New Zealand First wins out.

And that we don’t find ourselves in a situation arguably similar to that of the Democratic Party over in the U.S. – wherein the ‘rules’ were bent by decision-makers in order to turn the selection of a questionable candidate about whom serious concerns were percolating … into something of a fait accompli. That candidate’s name was, of course, Hillary Clinton. And, in no small part, this is how we got President Trump.

With New Zealand First about to have an absolute watershed year at the Election in September, it would be a damn shame if the Shane Jones sideshow were to imperil our chances. We’ve already had a number of people write in to tell us that they’ll be seriously reconsidering their support if Jones is put forward on our List.

And to be honest, who can blame them. A cursory examination of Jones’ political record would appear to suggest that he’s anything but a good fit for New Zealand First.

He rose to prominence advocating for causes which Winston would today describe as “separatist”. (including being a part of the Te Kawariki group which designed the Tino Rangatiratanga flag that Winston periodically objects to) And then turned around and helped betray Maoridom by selling off 50% of Sealord to the Japanese, rather than a local consortium. Winston, at the time, described the fruit of his actions as “a tragedy”.

Next, while serving as Labour’s Minister of Immigration, he granted citizenship against official advice to one Bill Liu. Who later turned out to be a seriously dodgy character and apparent international criminal. Why was Liu given citizenship? Well, in Liu’s words – he had (literal) friends in high places. I.e. Jones.

New Zealand First has long stood against cosy backroom deals – which, in this instance, bordered on corruption; and is eponymously associated with demands to clean up immigration. Jones’ actions while holding a Ministerial Warrant fairly directly tied to one of NZF’s hot-button issues were straight-up inimical to what we as a Party stand for.

Toward the end of his Labour career, he broke with his Caucus-mates (and, for that matter, the rest of the Opposition) to take a cautious stand in favour of Asset Sales. But only, you understand, provided that it benefited Maori corporate entities.

Again, a diametrically opposed stance to that which New Zealand First so resolutely believes in, on all fronts.

On top of this, the way Jones exited his previous party may prove sadly instructive for his likely relationship with a new one. Shortly after his surprisingly successful attempt at securing political rehabilitation following the damaging “Minister for Porn” scandal [which, for the record, I haven’t elsewhere mentioned both because I accept that it was an honest mistake – and, perhaps more importantly, because there are other far more serious grounds to skewer Shane on], he found himself ‘headhunted’ by National to take up a bespoke diplomatic posting. National’s reasoning here was quite simple – Jones represented one of the few prominent MPs within Labour to be perceived as able to ‘reach out’ to the working class/Waitakere Man voter; and thus, in National’s view, had to be neutralized in order to keep Labour at a reeling electoral disadvantage.

This, they did by luring Jones out of Parliament with the promise of what amounted to an all-expenses-paid three year holiday in the South Pacific. Jones took National up on their offer – abandoning the party which had made him first an MP and then a Minister in what some might argue was their hour of direst need. Certainly, his actions directly contributed to Labour reaping its worst electoral result in a century later that year.

Can New Zealand First really trust him to remain loyal when Labour could not? What about his relationship with National? Will he be an ‘enemy agent’ within our camp due to his close ties in that direction?

Interestingly, when he was leaving Parliament in 2014, Jones made a promise that he would not return to The House with any other party. The fact that he is now fairly openly shopping about his intent to politically resurrect under our banner would appear to suggest that Jones is not, in fact, a man of his word.

Now as applies that aforementioned relationship with National – it is not merely an idle nor ‘on paper’ thing. The National Party was quite happy to deploy him in its bid to sell the TPPA to the New Zealand People early last year. Jones, for his part (and, presumably, his thirty pieces of silver) appeared to have no issue getting up in front of Maori and other New Zealanders to extol the virtues of the sovereignty-stripping “trade agreement” which New Zealand First has fought so absolutely /bitterly/ in Parliament to try to prevent.

Not only does this suggest, as I have implied, a deep working relationship with National … it also rather luridly illustrates that Jones exists upon what we might frankly term the”neoliberal right” of New Zealand’s politico-economic spectrum. And ought be looked upon in suspicion as a result. Particularly as applies NZ First.

So there you have it.

I apologize for both the length and the vitriol of this piece; but it’s on a subject that’s simultaneously near to my heart and of great potential importance to the future of New Zealand politics.

In amidst the emotion, I hope that I have manged to set out some of the reasons why many of us here in NZ First are all up in arms about the potential for Shane Jones to turn up on our 2017 List; and, for that matter, outlined some elements of the strategy by which he may hopefully be blocked from candidacy.

When I signed up to this Party way back in 2009 – I did so out of a genuine desire to put New Zealand first. Given what Jones represents, it feels frankly uncontroversial to assert that advancing his political career is not a part of that. Maybe he’s changed? I’ll believe it when I see it.

But in any case, I’m pretty glad I’m not fighting this particular battle alone.

If you’re interested in what we’re doing – or you want to help – you can find us over at the Never Shane facebook page.

However our campaign plays out – there looks sure to be ‘interesting times’ ahead.

I believe that’s a Chinese curse.

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"Part Apache; Part Swede. Part Attack Helicopter; Part Kitset Furniture."

50 Comments

  1. Why do people rate/prop Shane Jones? Sure, once upon a time he was viewed as having ‘potential’, but when did he ever manage to deliver on it? The only people I’ve ever heard pushing this meme of Jones being able to connect with regular working class blokes seems to come from middle class intellectuals who fancy themselves as in tune with working blokes. The only working class blokes I’ve ever heard talking about him relates to “wanking on the taxpayer” etc. Way to reconnect. Yeah if I were in your party I’d be pissed.

    If anything, this plays straight into Gareth Morgan’s hands. He’s been making a big point of announcing that he’s turned away a few ex-politicians who were sniffing around TOP for the chance of a prominent place. Appointing a re-tread which went flat 5 minutes after it was new is going to compare very poorly.

  2. FlashinthePan says:

    IMHO Shane will broaden NZ First’s appeal even further and contribute to their watershed year. I truly believe they are headed for 15% this time round.

    • Chris says:

      Shane Jones is damaged goods. There ain’t no goin’ back. And this is in addition to Shane Jones.

      That said, this must be a good thing for the left. Anything that reduces Peters’ kingmaker ability the better. The Keyless and coalition partnerless nats will need all the help they can get so if NZF stuff out that has to be good. Bring Shane on, I say.

  3. XRAY says:

    Can this be a surprise?

    Jones’s resignation from Labour to join a hastily made up foreign affairs position for Murray McCully was peak Dirty Politics (before we knew National were operating such a clandestine machine) and a real low point for Labour as it was Jones and for that matter National.

    It was also incredibly sad for a number of reasons namely;

    That tax payer money was used as a vehicle in the stunt to kneecap Labour pre-2014 election.
    That Jones was so easily bought off and had absolutely no dignity and no bottom line, he simply sold out for as you put it, “an all-expenses-paid three year holiday” to the highest bidder.
    And probably worst but not least that Key and McCully knew this.

    I recall the gleeful look from Key as he gloated at the chump Jones when he said “he would be a welcome addition to the National Government”. Welcome, not for Jones skills mind as they were never required in this facade but just the fact this Quisling harmed the opposition.

    His career with Labour was one of false starts or actions that gave very bad looks, but mostly it was one of invisibility. At one point he was the shadow minister in areas I was very familiar with but from all evidence a guy who never took a minutes interest in such portfolio’s and did nothing to advance their causes from an opposition point of view.

    Even at the end of his parliamentary days with his, from nowhere, war on Progressive Enterprises, nicely out of reach from legal action because of Parliamentary Privilege, Jones never stuck it out and nothing ever resulted from his campaign except to say it damaged Countdowns reputation with nothing to show for the accusation.

    So could NZ First count on this man to work hard, stay focused, stand strong and remain loyal to the cause to the bitter end? Nope, not even maybe!

  4. David Stone says:

    All the parties are coming up with some thing or another to make it quite impossible to vote.
    D J S

  5. Shona says:

    Shane Jones standing for NZ First????See ya later Winston. And I won’t be the only one. Glad I am not a member tho the other half is.

  6. Sam Sam says:

    Still getting suckered by Winnie like he suckers maari

    • Once Was says:

      Take it all back. I should just have said “EW!”

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Yes Curwyn,

      Winston is a true patriot and loyal to the party he founded as he left National during the 1990’s so can we trust the Shane Jones type of “switch a roo”?

      I think not.

      Winston has a massive loyal following and NZ First must hold it together for the election as Bill English is toast.

      • Sam Sam says:

        That’s the funny part. Winston laughs so much and hates in equal proportions that he gives his left nut trying to take back control of rural infrastructure regimes. My impressions of grass roots up to local representatives all across the board lean towards the progressive side but that’s a mute point when no one knows the strategic strategy in Wellington and that’s generalised through out parliament.

      • Sally's Husband says:

        Cleangreen, so youi’re a NZFirst supporter?

  7. Chris says:

    Being involved with NZ First’s pretty much akin to political neutrality, isn’t it?

  8. Once Was says:

    @ Curwen. I read as far as ‘Shane Jones’ I’ll read the rest later.
    I hope Winnie and others realise that all Shane rides on is his ego, self-ascribed superior intellect and tik-a-box qualiies.
    The problem is I’m not sure the party has yet drawn the relationship between (or rather ‘with) his perception over the size of his cock and his ambition – worse still his effect on Mary Dom (going forward).
    A piece of shit with impeccable credentials Her Majesty would be proud of.

  9. Mike in Auckland says:

    Shane Jones is an opportunist and careerist, hence his departure from Labour’s front bench and his taking up a role for this government. He is known to not like the too hard work, and to rather go safe and use every opportunity to ensure a safe and good “job”, politics or whatever.

    So I would agree with Curwen. He may have managed to convince Winston to be allowed to join and stand, but one must ask, for what bloody reasons?

    I would never trust that man, he left his wife and family behind, to match up with a younger and “more exciting” woman, he left Labour, for what? He now talks of his job with this government running out, so maybe he did not get a new job offer with a nice salary, the one of an MP may be attractive again, if he can get in.

    Shane Jones is a joker, a larriking, a shallow operator, a populist and grand talker when it suits him and when it may catch on, and he is the darling of such media whores as Paddy Gower, who look for any new sensation to report on.

    Shane has few principles and therefore is just not worth the time to even discuss him, let him work in a real and honest job for a change, to earn his worth, I am still waiting for that to happen.

    Past fisheries deals he made still stink from the head, I hear.

    Curwen, maybe time to leave that black party, which will end anyway once Winston retires, whichever way.

    • Bea says:

      Being a larrikin, a populist and a grand talker is exactly what’s likely to get him an electorate seat if he stands in Whangarei. Northland and Whangarei are historically National seats. All voters want in those seats is for their representatives to be loud about Northland to National so we don’t get neglected.

  10. Chooky says:

    Jones comes in ….my Party vote goes back to the Greens

    Jones is an idiot and a liability…if NZF lets him in they will be sorry…it will be the end of NZF

    …Jones natural home is with the jonkey Nacts

    • Sally's Husband says:

      Ah, so you’re a NZ First supporter, Chooky? That explains your slavish devotion to Donald Trump, I guess.

  11. Hi-Vis says:

    Rolinson!!!! Go back to Mt Eden Village and reflect on what you have just written. The year of 2009 was not way back. It was yesterday.
    Just who the hell do you think you are, pontificating on Hon.Shane Jones. You use the words q. ” to be honest ” [sic]
    I read your words with circumspection and ask myself when a man says those words to me, ‘ Is he honest? Is he loyal ? Your article , my man, merits close scrutiny and an APPRECIATION. ( Emphasis, Literal.)

  12. Kim dandy says:

    Don’t do It NZF – What a turn off.

  13. countryboy says:

    @ SAM Hits the nail jonky kept missing, like the worthless little fuck he is, squarly where jonky couldn’t. On the head.
    I’m sorry @ Curwen. Isn’t it distressing, that those whom one admires and respects are photographed doing teas and biscuits with a writhing snake like brash much less seeing that person whom one admires and respects rubbing his face on the face of another that’s been snuffling up jonky’s arse crack. Just like the rest of the ersatz Labour party fakes.
    And again, I’m sorry to say. Winston Peters is as fake as the rest of them. Don’t be fooled by Dapper Dan. I hope Hell’s big enough to hold all those muthafathas.

  14. Bob (Northland) says:

    Jones represents all that is self-serving and repugnant in a politician.
    Slightly less offensive examples such as Dunn spring to mind.
    These are men of principles, and if you don’t like them,they have others – for a price.
    Not fit to clean the shoes of people such as Norman Kirk.
    NZ First would lose all credibility if it selects this Carpetbagger.

  15. saveNZ says:

    Shane Jones damaged goods. Abandoning Labour for his own gratification – clearly he’s not only easy to bribe but based on the history thinks that that is how things should be done.

    Winston is still respected over the wine box and exposing the financial scams, why on earth they would entertain Shane Jones as a candidate?

  16. Afewknowthetruth says:

    No, I was not aware than Shane Jones is about to make a comeback. That’s probably because I don’t partake of the crap churned out by the mainstream media, and because I have no interest in NZF, since NZF represents betrayal of voters. It always has. It always will.

    No, I haven’t ‘been living on the dark side of the Moon’, but it is clear that anyone who still believes in NZF or Winston Peters has been.

  17. Once Was says:

    Here’s a man that stands to undermine everything I understood NZ First stands for.
    Please … “NO”!
    He’s about as genuine as an Indian 1,000 rupee note printed on the Xerox in the back office

  18. Groucho Marxist says:

    If voting for Peters in Northland runs the risk of bringing Shane Jones back to parliament he won’t be getting party or electorate votes from anyone in my family.

  19. PJM says:

    Curwen, you wrote “We can but hope that Democracy in New Zealand First wins out.”

    Bearing in mind what hasn’t happened yet to Remit 7, passed by 91 votes to 50 at the 2015 party conference in Rotorua, in direct contravention of the party’s constitution as ruled on by the party’s judicial officer, democracy in New Zealand First appears to have already lost out!

    Perhaps the rumours regarding Shane Jones are related in some way to NZ First’s steady decline in the polls, from 13% to the most recent 9% — a drop in support of 31%. At 9%, New Zealand First would lose one seat and have just 11 seats in parliament.

  20. Pete says:

    So in Whangarei we vote for anyone but Jones and give our party vote to anyone but NZ First? And Shane Reti gets in again?

  21. Quicksilver says:

    Sorry Curwen, but as I read the tea leaves at the moment, a vote for NZ 1st, with or without Jones, will be a vote for a Nazional-led government. Unless of course poll numbers change drastically – we can but live in hope.

  22. Birds of a feather …..

  23. jax says:

    If Peters gets to form a coalition with either party he will go with the one that offers him the best position as he always does because it’s all about Peters. The Nats of course will be the most desperate so the outcome is guaranteed.
    In a way, the scurrilous Jones joining NZF will erode the party’s support and deprive Peters from his tiresome kingmakers role.
    Good move.

  24. Curwen, there are reasons why I admire you and your work in politics (despite being an activist for a political party I cannot trust).

    Firstly, you’ve laid out your views and feelings honestly and openly with your piece. I believe you’ve been 100% upfront with us on this issue.

    Secondly, I also value the assessment you’ve shared with us, on a political party that is secretive in it’s operations. Considering the very real possibility that Peters will (again) be a “kingmaker” post this election, it is necessary for people to know what is going on.

    Peters claims he believes in transparency yet we see precious little of it.

    Mostly though, Curwen, you are on a political journey and you will be learning much and encountering much. You will be tested and challenged. At times you may be offered temptations.

    Stay true to yourself and remember in whatever you choose; ask yourself, can I live with myself if I make ‘this’ choice or ‘that’ choice?

    I wish you success, mate. Kia kaha.

    • Sam Sam says:

      Ae bro.

      Kia kaha Curwen. You are possibly the single most transparent thing in NZ1st and I mean that in a good way.

    • kappanz says:

      As always, a pertinent statement from Frank. I wish Jones would decide what he is, then disappear. NZF is so secretive and dependent on the appealingly pickled elder leader, that giving them your vote is like throwing it into a black hole. We need the left to win.

      • Iain Mclean says:

        kappanz;

        Read up about Tavistock and The Fabian Society.

        The ‘Left’ of today are not what they seem and never have been.

        Cheers.

      • Sally's Husband says:

        Well said, Kappanz (and Frank!).

        So Iain,are you an NZF supporters as well?

  25. Hi-Vis says:

    I refer to and critique some words of the ‘ c.a.r. ‘ blog; q ” watching in mounted horror “[sic] Melodramatic. q. ” Jone’s now wife “[sic] Impish, distasteful and and very rude. q.” It appeared to be self-evidently stupid for NZ First to even think about running as a candidate.”[sic] You may have your own evidence according to yourself but don’t impose this as ownership by the majority of the collective of the Party members who have evidence to support a contrary view. q. ” I’ve played a certain role in stoking. “[sic] CR you are consistent with this one given your disloyal behaviour on a number of times. ( July to September 2014 )
    Don’t you think CR that the NZ National caucus had something to fear with The Rt.Hon.Shane Jones ( SJ ) by keeping an en enemy even closer than a friend. You challenge the word of SJ and impugn his sense of commitment to New Zealand, in error you define him as of the ‘ neo- liberal right ‘, and you completely ignore his CV , let alone his acumen.
    I marched in February 2016 against the TPPA , and yet I suggest that not all financial members of NZ First would agree with me, given the diversity of views within the Party.
    CR , you need to read s. 44 of the Constitution again. Whilst SJ remains in his current appointment he may be required to respect his mandate on political opinion, something Helen Clark did not do by shaking hands with Key to endorse the pro TPPA wing.
    Refer to the subsection and the principle of ‘ waiver ‘. Overall Rolinson you and your ilk have got it very wrong. Write your next blog on April 1st 2017.

    • Hi-vis, not only is your diatribe against Curwen mostly unintelligible, it verges on the hysterical; “you are consistent with this one given your disloyal behaviour on a number of times” .

      Will you be issuing Curwen with a subpoena to appear before the House Committee on Un-New Zealand Activities?

      Joe McCarthy would be proud.

      • Hi-Vis says:

        No Frank. I suggest the Committee on the Rights of persons with disabilities. ( international to which NZ participated ) At least that one exists, unlike your imagined Committee.

        I provoked you on this one ,didn’t I.k

      • Andrea says:

        I think HI-VIS is using party-speak to make a point with Curwen… Sort of ‘unswerving loyalty confronts a different aspect and mindset in the same party’.

        It had to come.

        That party either gets through its growing pains or becomes an insignificant highly secretive cult.

        Whichever – could they get through it before this election? We’ve had more than enough of waka-jumpers. Gives the sport a bad name.

        • Sam Sam says:

          Moving the goal posts is similar to the excuses Hi-Vis puts forward for choosing alternat history to come to different conclusions

  26. Iain Mclean says:

    I agree entirely with the very good anti-Jones comment above.

    I had always thought NZF had a unique opportunity in 2017 elections considering Brexit,election of The Donald,and the moving away from the ‘sold out’ main parties in Europe with first Iceland,then Greece,and now France,Germany,Italy among others looking for a Government that truly represents its people to maintain National Interests and Sovereignty.

    I predict Hungary may be the first to leave the European Union. They have had enough of unelected officials deciding what’s good for them.

    This is where NZ was headed with the TPPA and thank God Trump put a stop
    to it all.Trump Administration wants an end to muti-lateral agreements and return
    to bi-lateral ones in which much complexity and time/resources is reduced.

    More importantly to preserve National Sovereignty and genuine governance
    for the peoples interest.

    If Shane Jones gets a place in NZF (what,to eventually become leader?) he will
    destroy any chance of NZF in the elections to make NZ a better place.

    I have voted all my life and if Shane Jones is selected that will put an end to that.

    The other main parties are all ‘captured’ in one way or another as has been shown and,in my opinion, NZF was our last chance for NZ to stand up and say
    “enoughs enough”.!! The rest of the world has awoken.

    Thanks for your article Curwen and keep up the good fight.

    I suspect TPTB know full well the damage Jones will do to the party.
    Maybe that’s the plan all along.

    Cheers.

    • Andrea says:

      “I predict Hungary may be the first to leave the European Union.”

      Greece. There’s more pain and despair – and they’ve ever been a volatile crew.

  27. Stuart Munro says:

    But but but
    Who will speak for the fishies?
    Has Jones no loyalty at all?

  28. mosa says:

    Shane Jones and his nearest and dearest only care about their own advancement and don’t give a shit about this country much like the government he went to work for and he never thought twice about taking the job despite the fact the party he represented was the main opposition in this country.

    With a guaranteed ride into parliament and a coalition or a support arrangement with the next National government Jones will be well taken care off like the rest of the privileged class always are.

    This is the start of the destruction of NZF unless the rank and file of the party and supporters demand Jones is not selected.

  29. J S Bark J S Bark says:

    Meh…

    NZ First has always been a right wing conservative party. Just see the number of times it has propped up the National Party. That reduces them to enablers much like the Maori Party…

    I commiserate with your feelings of shock and disbelief; as a leftie, I experienced the same feelings over Labour in the 80s. You may have to alter course.

    Keep your principles even when others abandon them.

    It’s what defines you…

  30. Jack Ramaka says:

    Another distraction from Audrey Young and the NZ Herald NZF will have to look at the pros and cons of Shane Jones plus he will have to go through the NZF procedural process, not sure NZF needs a distraction like Shane Jones?

  31. Wha Left says:

    Jones was financially backed by Wira Gardner (Mr Hekia Parata), to be Labour Party leader.

    If Jones had been Labour Party leader he would have been:
    A Nat Trojan Horse within Labour.
    National would have “owned” Labour
    Then a National Party “dirty politics” sinecure in the South Pacific for his troubles.

    If Jones runs for New Zealand First, he’ll be
    A Nat Trojan Horse within New Zealand First
    National will “own” New Zealand First

    Beware Jones,
    beware the eides of September for New Zealand First.
    With Jones as leader of New Zealand First,
    who wins?

    How many pieces of silver will Jones get for taking out Winston?
    Beware Winston….
    Beware Jones,
    beware the eides of March and September for New Zealand First.