Aug 25, 2011

Shane Jones to retire?

Shane Jones is, apparently, weighing up his future in politics:

Labour MP Shane Jones has indicated he is weighing up his future in politics if he does not get strong endorsement from Maori voters in November's general election.

Mr Jones said on Te Kaea on Maori Television he wanted to win the Tamaki Makaurau seat - currently held by Maori Party leader Pita Sharples - and if he did not he would "reconsider my options".

When Parekura Horomia bows out of politics Shane will, in my opinion, assume the role of leader of the Maori Caucus. However, should both Parekura and Shane exit then the Maori Caucus will be left in a weak position. Remembering that other members of the old guard are either retiring (Mita Ririnui) or choosing to take a backseat (Nanaia Mahuta). This leaves only Kelvin Davis and, assuming they make it in, Deborah Mahuta-Coyle and Rino Tirikatene. Moana Mackey could also be considered, but I tend to think her loyalties do not lie with the Maori Caucus.

However, should Shane win he will almost certainly be reinstated to the front bench and would be in a position to build a compelling case to be ranked in the top five – maybe deputy leader. Shane would complement David Cunliffe or David Parker, however, and Shane has admitted this, he must work harder to gain the respect of caucus. The Maori Caucus, as a bloc, do not have the power to propel Shane to the top nor do they, in my opinion, maintain the alliances with other blocs needed to do so. Shane needs to put himself in a position where the Labour Party need him. Winning Tamaki Makaurau, and in the process displacing one of the co-leaders of the Maori Party, would be Shane’s first step towards cementing himself as a political force and breaking his reliance on the Labour Party. As a list MP Shane is beholden to the party. With a seat Shane is beholden to his constituents.

For what it’s worth I think Shane is more likely to win than not. He is by no means a shoe-in, but is in with a strong chance regardless of how well he runs his campaign. There will be a reflex swing against the Maori Party in every electorate and in light of the Horizon Poll taken earlier in the year it appears that the reflex swing is most pronounced in Tamaki Makaurau. Of course Willie Jackson, should he decide to stand, will be a complicating factor and in my opinion (and also Rawiri Taonui’s) he will have a strong chance of snatching the seat too. Interesting times ahead.    


  1. Why do you continue to rely on the Horizon Poll? it does not do your credibility much good. The "poll" is bunkum.

  2. I do not rely on Horizon Polls per se. I think the poll is useful in that it illustrates a larger trend. I doubt that Horizon polls are an accurate reflection of the actual numbers, but a useful signal of what way the electorate is leaning, yes.

  3. Shane will be "beholden" to the Labour Party either way, Morgan. The party chooses both List and Electorate MPs - and can easily choose someone else if Shane ceases to be "beholden" to his party.

    It amazes me that people still cling to the notion that, somehow, an Electorate MP is less attached to his or her party than a List MP.

    Tell me the last time anyone other than a member of the Labour Party got to choose a Labour Party candidate?

  4. This is true. However, I feel the list selection process is largely predetermined according to what the party hierarchy want. Although the actual process is highly secretive, each delegate goes in with instructions from their region as well as knowing full well what the party at large expects. Candidates are then selected thanks to strong arming from the top (e.g. the leadership of the parliamentary wing and the institutional wing). So if the leadership want Shane Jones they will make that fact known and influence the delegates accordingly.

    OTOH branches select local candidates. I know from experience that the Maori branches are fiercely independent and will back whoever they want - not what the party wants. Shane is, therefore, beholden to his local branch and to a lesser extent Te Kaunihera Maori.

  5. This is a clever tactic from Jones. If he threatens retirement in the event he loses, it prevents Sharples from campaigning on getting two for the price of one by voting for Sharples, since Jones losing will apparently mean Jones leaving.



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