Jacinda will not sack Shane Jones

Shane Jones

Shane Jones is in breach of the Cabinet manual. Section 2.69 states: quote.

Ministers should take care, however, to ensure that they do not become associated with non-governmental organisations or community groups where:

the group’s objectives may conflict with government policy;

the organisation is a lobby group; or

the organisation receives or applies for government funding. end quote.

Shane Jones is clearly in trouble, but Jacinda just bats it away. Nothing to see here. quote.

Documents show Jones, the regional development minister, sat in on a funding meeting where a group of Cabinet colleagues approved up to $4.6 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund, providing reassurances about the governance of the plan.
This led to calls for Jones to be sacked, but Stuff revealed on Sunday evening Ardern said she would not be doing so.

“Based on both the information and advice I’ve received, the conflict of interest was managed in accordance with the Cabinet Manual so therefore I would have no cause to sack minister Jones”, the prime minister said in a statement.   end quote.

No. It was not managed ‘in accordance with the Cabinet Manual’. It was in direct breach of section 2.69 of the Cabinet Manual, as stated above. quote.

Jones defended staying in the meeting in taking part, saying he had disclosed his interest, which satisfied his responsibilities, although he acknowledged there was a “school of thought” that would consider he should have left the meeting.

“I don’t believe my presence in any meeting with three other powerful ministers has any deterrent effect.” end quote.

It does not matter what Jones believes. It is the perception that counts. He is the minister in charge of the slush fund known as the Provincial Growth Fund. He should have left the meeting. quote.

Act MP David Seymour called for Jones to be sacked as a minister and has written to the auditor-general asking for an investigation.

“Clare Curran was sacked for failing to disclose a meeting. Shane Jones has done exactly the same, the only difference being that Curran’s meeting had no consequence whereas Jones was decisive in $4.6 million of taxpayer money going to an organisation he’d previously been involved with,” Seymour said.


end quote.

Jacinda is still standing by Shane Jones. While talking to Mike Hosking yesterday she basically said there is ‘nothing to see here’. Of course this whole situation puts her in a precarious position. There is no way she can sack Shane Jones. He is the future of the NZ First party, the golden boy from the Far North. Even if you think those accolades are a bit dubious, it is very unlikely that Winston Peters is going to allow that silly little girl that he made prime minister, to sack his successor. It simply will never happen.

That is not the only problem of course. If she were to sack him (if she even could) who would replace him? Who does she have competent enough to manage a fund of $3 billion? Jones himself is doing a poor enough job already and there is no one more competent who could take over the role and do it better. No one I can think of anyway. That is why there has been no cabinet reshuffle. It would merely be a case of moving around the deckchairs on the Titanic.

Jones will stay, making Jacinda look weaker and weaker, making her look as if she can’t make the tough calls, when in fact it is not her decision to make. There is no doubt though… Shane Jones is in breach of section 2.69 of the Cabinet manual and as such, he should be sacked immediately. But he won’t be sacked. Winston won’t allow it.