Shane Jones goes too far this time

When Shane Jones joined NZ First, he was generally seen as Winston’s successor, and with good reason. Based in the Far North, of strong Maori descent, intelligent and educated, and with a lot of political experience, he was seen as the future of the party. But Jones was always known as a bit of a lad; an outlier in fact, and this did not change when he became a minister in the current government. If anything, he got worse, lambasting public companies, and behaving in a generally unprofessional and cavalier manner. While he already makes it clear that he is the one making the decisions about allocations of funding from the PGF, now he has gone too far, and his political career may be on the line because of it. quote.

Regional Development Minister Shane Jones raised NZ Transport Agency’s case against a Northland trucking company with the chief executive of the regulator.

Jones has confirmed he is related to the company’s managing director, Stan Semenoff, and that he accepted a $2000 donation from the former Whangarei mayor in 2008.

On Wednesday told the New Zealand Herald reported that Jones had made warnings about the “economic implications” of the case between the New Zealand Transport Agency and Stan Semenoff Logging.

Jones reportedly said he was “concerned about the future of 1000 jobs in Northland which could be on the line” due to the court case. end quote.

He should not be interfering in a case before the courts. What is worse, he is Associate Transport Minister, and therefore is seen as applying undue pressure on an agency that he has some responsibility towards. Furthermore, there is a family connection, so a clear conflict of interest applies. Does Shane Jones not take any notice of any of these things? quote.

On March 15, NZTA moved to revoke Whangarei-based Stan Semenoff Logging’s transport service licence over long standing safety concerns.

Stan Semenoff Logging was ordered to stop work from March 22, however the company, which has clocked up 116 speed and traffic-related offences in the last four years, successfully applied to the High Court to be given the right to stay on the road for now.

Jones, who also holds the Associate Transport portfolio, told Parliament that the had a “brief” discussion with the chief executive of NZTA. He did not describe the discussion.

end quote.

Disgraceful. Maurice Williamson was stood down as a minister immediately after a similar incident came to light. This is not acceptable behaviour from a minister. quote.

Jones also confirmed that he is related to Semenoff.
According to a report in the Otago Daily Times in 2009, Jones said the donation from Semenoff was because “he’s my mother’s cousin”.

National’s regional development spokesman Paul Goldsmith had earlier said it was inappropriate for Jones to make any comment about the NZTA case given the matter was before the courts. It appeared Jones was attempting to put pressure on NZTA, Goldsmith said.
“It is constitutionally inappropriate for any minister to wade in on a matter before the courts which is exactly what Mr Jones has done by saying an adverse outcome for Semenoff Logging in its case against the NZTA could lead to job losses in Northland. We need to know the full extent of his inappropriate behaviour,” Goldsmith said.
“It makes it worse if there is a perception of some form of relationship there. He has more questions to answer.”

Stuff end quote.

The trouble is that Jacinda can do nothing about Jones unless Winston agrees, and that is not likely. So, our once spotless reputation goes down another notch because Jones can get away with anything… and he takes advantage of it.

Shane Jones had a great opportunity with NZ First to carve out a niche for himself, and have a long career with the party in parliament. As it is, he must face accusations of corruption, coercion and trying to put pressure on a government agency, for which he is partly responsible. Jones’s prospects are not good. Justin Trudeau has been accused of similar actions, and he is now fighting for his political life… and appears to be losing fast.