But, can Bill work with Winston?

Richard Harman from Politik reports:

Former Labour Minister and current Special Ambassador to the Pacific for Economic Development, Shane Jones, is now believed to have agreed to stand for NZ First in Whangarei at this year?s election.

Close friends of Jones say he has made his mind up to re-enter politics.

He would have an uphill struggle winning the Whangarei seat held by Naitonal’s Shane Reti with a 13,169 vote majority, but Jones’ importance would be to give real political heft to New Zealand First.

57-year-old Jones was a Minister in the Clark Government, and after unsuccessfully contesting the Labour leadership in 2011 he left Parliament and was appointed by Foreign Minister, Murray McCully to his current role.

Jones was on the right of the Labour caucus and was closely associated with MPs like Stuart Nash and David Shearer. ?

In a New Zealand First caucus, he could be expected to be a strong advocate for regional development policies.

But perhaps, more importantly, National would see him as a moderating influence on Winston Peters and therefore someone with whom they could do business.

His presence would raise one challenge, and that is whether Ron Mark would have to make way for him as deputy leader.

Jones has the charisma to succeed Peters as leader.

The little general Ron Mark might have a few conniptions over that, but Winston is closer to Shane Jones than the former motor pool mechanic.

National may have a new weapon in its battle to keep the Maori Party on side.

The new Prime Minister, Bill English, impressed Ratana with a three minute ad-lib speech in Te Reo and it is noteworthy this Waitangi weekend that not only will he meet the Iwi Leadership Forum at Waitangi on Friday but on Waitangi day itself, he will be at a breakfast with Ngati Whatua — an iwi who have settled their claims and have got on with becoming entrepreneurial property developers in Auckland. (amidst other things)

National is pitching itself at Maori success whereas Labour continues to pitch to Maori deprivation.

There’s no doubt that there are massive differences between NZ First and the maori Party over what NZ First calls “separatism” such as the iwi particiaption provisions in the Resource Legislation Ammendment Bill yet NZ First has six Maori MPs.

But what links both Shane Jones and the Maori Party in an ironic way is their lack of comfort with Labour?s current direction.

In the case of Maori Party President, Tuku Morgan, and to a lesser extent Jones, that objection to where Labour is now is quite visceral.

However, it may well prove to be the single most important factor in deciding who forms the next Government.

I don’t know about you but I’d prefer paying Winston’s bribes than the continued brown-mail from the Maori party.

The only question out there is can Bill work with Winston?


– Politik