The Herald reports:
Labour leader Phil Goff is moving quickly to deal with the fallout over the spending of some of the party’s former ministers.
Mr Goff returned from a trip to China today and was tonight talking to Shane Jones, Chris Carter and others embroiled in the scandal.
Party sources told NZPA that Mr Goff wasn’t going to wait for Tuesday’s caucus meeting and was likely to announce his decisions around noon tomorrow.
Mr Jones and Mr Carter are almost certain to be demoted and a third, Mita Ririnui, could also go down in the ranks.
Let’s review each of the three.
The decision to demote Chris Carter is an easy one. It was almost inevitable that he would have been demoted in the year end reshuffle anyway, and eas expected to retire at the next election anyway.
The potential danger around Carter is that if he got seriously disgruntled and resigned, he would cause a by-election in Te Atatu – a seat no longer guaranteed to stay with Labour – National narrowly won the party vote in 2008.
A demotion for Shane Jones is more challenging. There is no doubt it has to happen, but Jones was a potential rival to Goff as leader, and is unlikely to remain around for long if he sees himself in for a long spell on the backbenches. Hence he will be told that any demotion is temporary, even though I suspect it will be permanent. What they do not want is Jones resigning and bringing Judith Tizard back on the list.
Mita Ririnui lost his seat in 2005, and was lucky to make it back in 2008 as a List MP. He was also one of those expected to retire in 2011 anyway, so a demotion is no big thing. He wasn’t front bench anyway, and I can’t even recall what portfolio he covers.Tags: Chris Carter, Mita Ririnui, MPs expenses, Phil Goff, Shane Jones