GUEST BLOG: A NZ First Vice Chair slams Shane Jones

By   /   June 30, 2017  /   36 Comments

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I know that a lot of my fellow members of New Zealand First agree with me on this (some to the point where they’ve said they’ll resign their membership, which is something I had also previously threatened to do, but have been tentatively convinced to refrain from – for now).

#NeverShane

At the time of writing; it has been 7 hours since NZ First’s List MP for Rodney; one Tracey Martin, put up a post on Facebook; of a media advisory that on Friday 30th June, Rt Hon Winston Peters will be announcing the candidate for the general electorate seat of Whangarei.

One guess who that might be (Tip: The media has been talking about it for around a year, now).
Labour’s (or is it National’s?) very own Shane “Red blooded, robust dude” Jones has been tipped for some time now, to be the NZ First candidate for Whangarei in the 2017 General Election.

Sounds like a smart idea; right?
Right?
*wind rustling*
Okay… Maybe not.

But why is it not a smart idea?
I mean, Shane is an experienced politician to boot.
This particular “red blooded, robust dude” served not only as a Labour Party MP for 9 years; but also as the Minister for Building and Construction, as well as having held an associate portfolio for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Immigration, and Trade.
In fact; Mr Jones was made the Chair of the Finance and Expenditure Select committee shortly after his entry to Parliament in 2005.
He was even touted -repeatedly- as a future leader of the Labour Party (although both his 2013, and 2014 bids for that spot fell short).

Well; here’s why it’s maybe not such a smart idea, after all.

Firstly; in 2008, in his capacity as Associate Minister of Immigration; Jones approved the citizenship of Chinese businessman, Mr Yang Liu (AKA Yong Min Yan, AKA William Yan).
It would seem that Jones had acted against officials’ advice that he should decline the application because of questions about Liu’s multiple identities, and a warrant for his arrest in China.
Liu, in the meantime; was charged with making false declarations on immigration documents.
All charges against Liu were eventually dropped; but one may still question why Jones ignored immigration officials, and went ahead with the approval anyway.
One might outright believe Jones when he says that this was for humanitarian reasons (according to Jones; he’d received advice that Liu would be executed, if he were to return to China).
But, one might also ask why Jones neglected to tell the leader of his party, Helen Clark; of these circumstances at the time, so as to save her successor -after Goff- David Shearer, from going to the trouble of requesting an inquiry by the Auditor-General.
One’s guess is likely as good as mine.
Might it be because -as Yan/Liu tells it-, they’re personal friends?


By the way; it’s worth noting that upon Liu/Yan’s return to China, he was arrested for money laundering (but not executed); and was sent back to New Zealand where he was convicted last year.


Secondly; In June 2010 after the release of ministerial credit card records, Jones admitted to having used a Crown credit card for personal expenditure, but assured the public that he had reimbursed the Crown in full for the expenditure.
Later that day Jones admitted that he had used the card to hire pornographic films at hotels while on ministerial business.

The credit card record also showed that he chartered an executive jet for $1200, which he claimed was due to bad weather which forced a change in his schedule.

On 14 June 2010, Phil Goff demoted our “red blooded, robust dude” for misuse of ministerial credit cards.
Jones was removed from the parliamentary front bench and stripped of the shadow portfolios of Environment and Economic Development.


But alas; these are not the only reasons why it may just be a poor move for Winston to call upon his “red blooded, robust” friend to stand for New Zealand First, in Whangarei this election.

As anyone who follows New Zealand First and it’s stances will know; we’re a party who has for some time now, contended that the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (which in case you didn’t know, Bill English is doing his damnedest to revive after the seemingly not so fatal blow dealt to it by President Trump), is a terribly bad idea.

Our own Trade spokesperson; Fletcher Tabuteau MP, and even the Rt Hon Winston Peters himself have engaged with the public of New Zealand many times with speeches and talks that have imparted grave warnings of the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses in that very agreement; which would -as both men have repeatedly stated- hold New Zealand, and indeed it’s very status as a sovereign nation; hostage to lawsuits -to be arbitrated offshore- by transnational corporations whose potential profits may be adversely affected by any new laws which this, or future governments may sign off on.

The problem with Shane Jones of course; is that he has gone on record to say that he believes that same agreement to be a good thing, stating at a hui which he facilitated in Northland last year in August, that the agreement would benefit Northern Maori who were reliant on export industries such as fish, honey, and forestry.

Now, I’m not sure about anyone else; but to me that doesn’t sound much like the scathing criticisms of the Neo-Liberal agreement that have been so fervently touted by New Zealand First since AT LEAST 2014, which have continued right up until now.


The question that should be one everyone’s minds in New Zealand First; is what exactly it would be that this “red blooded, robust dude” actually represents for the party, and it’s post-election plans as regards both coalition, and future policy; especially as he’s widely regarded as the main rival to current deputy Ron Mark, for the leadership once Winston eventually retires.

It’s also worth wondering whether or not he’d be capable of winning Whangarei, even were it not for the fact that every single time he’s contested an electorate so far; he’s fallen short of the mark.
I can’t speak for anyone else on this; but I have to say that in my view, our “red blood, robust dude” isn’t looking too flash as a prospective candidate for New Zealand First, or any other party.
Speaking of which; didn’t Jones promise when he left that he wouldn’t be standing for another party?

One last note; is that New Zealand First has always prided itself on its own internal democracy.
One would think therefore; that it’d leave a bit of a rotten taste in the mouth to see that on Tuesday, it was reported by the Otago Daily Times and Maori TV that although Shane Jones would be expected to announce his candidacy for New Zealand First on Friday; that Mr Peters had confirmed that no selection had been made for Whangarei.

When did Tracey make that media advisory announcement for again?
Tomorrow.
Oh yeah, that’s Friday.

Conclusion:  Looks very much like a rotten egg.
Time to hope and pray that Winston will be announcing someone else entirely.
One would hope, that if a humble Applied Science student like myself can disseminate why a “red blooded, robust dude” isn’t exactly a solid contribution to the ranks of New Zealand First; that a man like Rt Hon Winston Peters, with almost 40 years of political experience under his belt would be capable of the same.

We’ll see, though.

Ermmm… One more thing that I almost forgot, and I know that a lot of my fellow members of New Zealand First agree with me on this (some to the point where they’ve said they’ll resign their membership, which is something I had also previously threatened to do, but have been tentatively convinced to refrain from – for now).
#NeverShane

About the writer:
Anton Skipworth; 29, is an Applied Science student at UCOL in Palmerston North.
He is based in Whanganui, and is a father of two.
He is also the current Vice Chair of the Whanganui Electorate Committee for New Zealand First.

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36 Comments

  1. WILD KATIPO says:

    Nope , and its a pity ,… but there’s several things just don’t add up about Shane. And from what I’ve observed,… Mr Jones pales into flippant opportunism compared to the no nonsense Ron Mark.

    • phillip ure says:

      ‘the ballad of shane jones’:

      he bloviates here..

      he bloviates there..

      he bloviates everywhere..

      he’s the dedicated bloviator of politics..

  2. Cindy Lavache says:

    You must remember NZ First is a centralist party. It is made up of members with beliefs from both sides of thee political spectrum and then looks on a case by case basis which is the best for New Zealand.

    I think this author has failed to understand that, or will he write a piece about each NZ First candidate to look at where their beliefs lay?

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      ” It is made up of members with beliefs from both sides of the political spectrum and then looks on a case by case basis which is the best for New Zealand.”

      ……………………………….

      Excellent !!! – its a Labour led govt in tandem with The Greens and NZ First , then !!!

      I couldn’t have asked for better !!!

    • Jack Ramaka says:

      Evidently the appointment was approved by NZF Caucus so it’s not an off the cuff appointment ?

      • Jack Ramaka says:

        … also he is te tangata whenua in Northland and has quite a lot of respect in Northland from both Maori and Pakeha.

  3. Richard Christie says:

    Quit moaning and swallow your dead rat or walk.

    Apparently that’s what you have to do, NZF gets Jones as Labour got Greg O’Connor.

    Both would make me walk.

  4. Reg Skipworth says:

    Maybe a good move in think we will have to wait and see.. Father of the writer who doesn’t always agree with him as in this case. But I will always respect his rite to have an opinion. We still live in a democracy and everyone has a rite to say what they think no matter how much others may disagree. Reg Skipworth.. Antons dad and proud NZ FIRST member and Shane Jones supporter.l have met the man and he is a very clever guy.

  5. Samwise says:

    To be honest, reg, I couldn’t care less what your party does. You betrayed us once in 1996, winston still hasn’t told the electorate who his coalition preference is, and now Tracey Martin is touting for votes from conservative voters by waving the red rag of corporal punishment for children. So if you expect us to care for the machinations of your populist party, well, good luck with that.

    • Theodore says:

      Have to agree with you, Samwise. Anton Skipworth is wasting his time on this issue. Most of us wouldn’t touch NZ First with latex gloves and a hazmat suit. Especially Shane Jones. We don’t know where he’s been.

      • Anna says:

        What’s wrong with those who make these decisions?
        Where have their scruples gone?
        Had to laugh at “We don’t know where he’s been.”
        No, but good advice in that situation is ….Put it back…….(for that very reason).

        No more NZ First vote from me, sorry.

  6. MattyGee says:

    Shane Jones confirmed, does NZF have any idea how many votes that announcement will cost them?

  7. Gadfly's Dad says:

    Labour hasn’t changed its spots. The Greens have moved to the right. NZ 1st appears to be the only opposition at the moment and I like Ron Mark so although not a socialist party I was leaning towards them. After 96 can we trust Winston? I was going to give him the benefit of the doubt but if they run with Shane Jones, I cant vote for them. It looks like the only socialist party is Mana but they aren’t mainstream. I am 70 male and white but I have no party to vote for! Where Oh Where is there a Corbyn!

    • Louis says:

      Its not perfect far from it but we have to work with what we have got if you want to change the government, wishing is pointless and doesn’t change a thing.

    • Louis says:

      Labour has changed and the Greens are not National’s best buds either.

    • John W says:

      Marks has political roots has not left behind.

      Getting closer to the man allows viewing of his opportunistic self. Liked Winston his rhetoric is designed to appease the disenfranchised but that is not the man.

      He seems to quite like bending the rules behind closed doors for his own personal benefit and use public money to his own ends.

      Hey what is corruption.

  8. mary_a says:

    I am sure now, having the political prince of porn Shane Jones, standing as a candidate for NZF next election, will deter many voters from casting their vote for the party. Even if Jones misses out on the Whangarei seat, he’ll be pretty high on the party list to slide into Parliament anyway.

    Winston could regret his decision in taking Jones on board.

    Jones in my personal opinion is a gross, creepy self indulgent individual, much better suited to the Natzianals. He’d contribute well to their vile culture of sleaze and slime!

  9. CLEANGREEN says:

    I want to see Shane jones denounce John Key and his remaining toxic front end lineup before I would vote him into NZ First.

    It may be a NatZ Poison Chalice in this “turncoat” since Shane Jones first ditched labour and then swanned off into the Island sunset with nactionals promise of “a brighter future”

    Is this man really now a centerist????

    He does act doggy with politics like an indian giver. Watch him carefully.!!!!!

    • OncewasTim says:

      Indeed @CG.
      So where does this now leave you? I’m interested bcos I suspect you might have been impressed with a number of NZ1’S policies.
      Is the sleaze, arrogance, selfaggrandising, pig at the trough, egotistical behaviour, and the basic ‘ew’ factor of Shane Jones enough to turn you off?
      I once worked with Winnie’s bro (ian) and I think I have at least a tiny understanding of what drives him (a bloody academic sociologist’s interest).
      THIS REALLY DOES beg the question: wtf is Winston thinking? Is it just possibly the last roll of the dice?
      Given Shàaaaaayne….it really is a dubble down and a fu to half the party membership.3

      • CLEANGREEN says:

        Hi Tim,

        I think that Winnie may have some inside info on the local voters there, and he may believe that Shane may attract more NatZ voters to him as you correctly say he is a bit right of centre but listen to the interview on The nation today as hane does clear up some questions after being battered by Liza Owens. Godd the way he handled it I must say.

        Wimie is a very intelligent man with a king sized character.

        THAT EVEN SURPASES JOHN KEY AND BOTH JONES AND WINNIE MAY ATTRACT MORE NACTIONAL SWING VOTERS THAN WE ARE AWARE OF NOW PERHAPS?

  10. RosieLee says:

    A truly odious man. Supercilious, condescending, self serving and selfpublicising, conceited, arrogant. The great I am. Need I go on?

  11. Kim dandy says:

    Never Shane – bad move – never NZF.

  12. David says:

    Guess it’s all been said Jones is not an acceptable candidate, Winston what the hell are you thinking,I’m out of there.

  13. David Stone says:

    I guess Shane has a following of his own that will to some extent replace the NZF supporters who flee. It will be interesting to see the next poll results, but this would seem to be the end of NZF as we know it. More like wealthy dodgy foreigners first and New Zealand a long way down the track.
    Where will NZF voters go? I have been one recently, not for any great convictions about the personnel, but because they have been articulating the issues that seem most important to me, so it has seemed the honest thing to do even if a wasted vote. But now all that ideology is flushed down the loo. After voting for half a century I have no idea what to do this time.
    D J S

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      I believe there’s either Labour or NZ First / Greens to form the next govt.

      I have railed against the neo liberals in Labour for 3 decades , however when I saw David Cunliffe’s magnificent speech when he first became leader I knew something was up,… moreso as we saw the obvious mounting underhanded opposition from the neo liberals in Labours caucus. It was then I took more of an interest.

      But Andrew Little has been hitting many of the high points over the last few years and this latest move to improve the lot of the worker is gutsy to say the least. And it is unfair of the naysayers to nitpick on smaller details and expect sudden change to happen yesterday. One step at a time.

      Likewise NZ First . Just because Shane Jones has come on board doesn’t mean we have to throw the baby out with the bathwater. In the big scheme of things , it doesn’t change the good things about the party. Jones is just one individual. And lets not forget – the NZ First membership prefers a coalition with Labour , not National . And despite their detractors , even Peters himself has said the party operates on a democratic system. And there still stands the MOU with Labour and the Greens.

      Peters knows in all likelihood that NZ First will be the Kingmakers, Peters also knows he will win concessions and risk far less friction than with going with National. Many members of both National and Act are critical and quite hostile to him. Peters also knows that by going with Labour and the Greens they will form the necessary numbers to govern.

      Then there’s the strategic move to take Whangarei from the Nats. And Jones has the public profile and popularity up in Northland to possibly achieve that. NZ First have an obvious strategy to destroy National in the province’s. It might just be time to look past the Jones thing and focus instead on the bigger picture of getting this election won.

      Three more years of National?

      No way.

      Too many New Zealanders have already suffered.

      • David Stone says:

        Can you refer that speech Katipo? Chris Trotter has often highlighted David C as an arch opponent of neoliberal economics but that aspect of DC’s beliefs had passed me by. And I suspect it may have passed others. If that speech clarifies this I would like to read it but a quick look on google doesn’t find it/
        The next question is why then did they dump him? Was it because of his anti neoliberal stance ? David Parker always seemed to me to best have his head around the economy out of the recent labour personnel. What is Andrew Little’s economic philosophy ? Do you know? Has he got one?
        Cheers David J S

  14. G.A.P says:

    100% GADFLY’S DAD. Same demographic, same politics,same problem. Was leaning toward NZF, but Jones finished that. Listening to various radio stations after the announcement, i was astonished to hear quite a number of people saying that Jones would be an asset as flicking from party to party (lucrative jobs etc.) would give him wider experience??? WTF

    • OncewasTim says:

      One could actually draw parallels betwèen NZ FAST and the Murry Party (going forwid)
      All that “better to be inside the tent pissing out than inside the tent pissing in” kaka.
      It captured the egos of a Marama and a Pita (parrot) and a Bennet and various others.
      Treats and trinkets….cargo cults…..
      Who is YOUR OWN worst enemy?

  15. Otto Mann says:

    The problem with NZ First is that I don’t know what I’m getting with my vote if I support them at the ballot box? Is it a National-led government with NZ First nibbling at the edges? Or a Labour-led government nibbling at the neo-liberal edges?? At least with Labour it would put a stop to the creep of state house privatisation, charter schools, and cuts to health and education.

    But I just don’t know.

    Sorry Anton, but I’m not prepared to take that risk. If I buy a can at the supermarket, I want to know what I’m getting by reading the label. A can without a label could be dog-tucker. And I sure as hell don’t want to be dog-tucker.

    • Anna says:

      Otto your analogy is spot on…….I am just so tired of my hopes being raised and then dashed by the outcome.

      WHY can’t NZ First just stand tall and quell the lust for personal power and baubles….and vote issue by issue according to NZF’s stated policies. To me, that is true MMP.

      I too just don’t know….but I see CLEARLY there is no party I can both vote FOR and TRUST.

      More and more I understand it is possible to have the right to vote, but in effect be disenfranchised…his choice of Jones means I have been betrayed by Winston Peters just once too often.

  16. lloyd jordan says:

    it only takes 1 polluting excreting cow to pollute the water system, so too with politics.. winnie hasnt made many mistakes in his time on the hill but this is a doozy, any chance of my vote ending in his corner vanshed yesterday

  17. David Stone says:

    The fact is that although NZF has consistently advocated in believable NZ interests, and Winston has always made sense to me ideologically, the party has always been held together by his charisma and his personality. For all the good people that have accumulated around him and around the beliefs, when he goes there will be a hollow shell. I guess that’s why Shane Jones has been recruited , because though his history belies NZF beliefs he has the personality to attract attention. It will just be an entirely different party serving an entirely different constituency.
    D J S

  18. wattnot says:

    Shane has a serious and growing Messiah complex. His recent speech, in which he told the world how thousands of people are accosting him the street and saying “Shane, Shane, please lead us into the light” was a piece of self-aggrandizing on a breathtaking scale.
    His crocodile tears about taxpayer-funded porn were also very self-serving. If he had used taxpayer money to watch the History Channel he wouldn’t have been hounded down, but nor would he have recognised that that was equally unacceptable.
    If we want to be ruled by politicians who operate on the basis of whatever they think they can get away with, then we will get exactly what we deserve.

  19. Iain Mclean says:

    Anton;

    Applaud your courage in posting your views considering the position you hold as vice-chair in the Whanganui Electorate Committee for NZF.

    I share your views,like many others,and have stated on these pages that being,
    in my opinion,the last party that could make a difference in making NZ a better place for the generations to come, I would refrain from voting for the first time in my life if Shane Jones ever entered the party.
    I presume as Heir Apparent.

    I can understand that Shane and Winston are good mates and if Whangarei
    was won it would give NZF a stronghold in the north that could be used as a working base to strengthen their resolve in the battles to come.

    BUT;
    “The question that should be one everyone’s minds in New Zealand First; is what exactly it would be that this “red blooded, robust dude” actually represents for the party,”

    In this regard,what are the chances of the party drawing up some sort of pledge that is signed by ALL members that are to run as potential MP’s along the lines that they would not say or do anything that would be to the detriment of the party, Sovereign NZ and the citizens within?

    In this way Shane, and others, could somehow be held to account for any behavior that did not adhere to the core values of the party that strive for a
    better future. ie Common Sense.

    I believe that the ideas contained in the article below is something that NZF should take a serious look at. It comes from http://robertdavidsteele.com/ on the subject
    OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING ENGINEERING.

    He has traveled the globe with presentations. Only a party like NZF would ever look at something like this as it is a way to move away and survive a break with the Status Quo.

    Extract;
    “Most of these points contained in a message to Trump will be relevant to our
    situation.
    Especially #4 could be promised on the campaign trail with regular posts/videos
    to NZF website. ie Bypass the media.!!
    #4 Ike Eisenhower was the last president to have a grand strategy – you need one.
    Read NZ needs one.”

    Towards the bottom;
    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2017/03/11/what-every-single-mainstream-media-pundit-seems-to-have-missed-in-the-boomer-vs-gen-x-vs-millennial-debate/

    What are the chances of running this past the academics?

    Cheers.

  20. HI VIS says:

    [Comment declined for publication. Please re-submit without the personal ad hominem. – Scarletmod]