The applause from his colleagues ought to be long and loud when Shane Jones arrives for Labour’s weekly caucus meeting on Tuesday. This week was Labour’s by a country mile thanks to Jones’ carefully conceived, astutely timed and precisely targeted blitzkrieg-style offensive on Countdown, the Australian-owned supermarket chain.
In the space of just a few minutes in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, Jones made an extremely serious allegation regarding Countdown’s business practices. In doing so, he also entrenched Labour as the White Knight on the frontline of the Supermarket Wars.
It’s all about repositioning Labour more firmly in voters’ minds as the consumer’s friend who will confront big business greed rather than being a corporate lap-dog like National.
It’s about ensuring the economic debate at this year’s election concentrates on prices, wages, income inequality and child poverty – not economic growth forecasts, Budget surpluses and debt repayment where National has a huge advantage.
Yep a very good week for Shane Jones. It may backfire if he has over-egged the problem, but from what I have heard it does seem that there is some fire behind the smoke.
In fact, it could have been the perfect week for Labour had David Cunliffe not wasted an opportunity to nail the Greens to the wall, thereby making it very clear to the public who is going to be the boss in any Labour-Greens coalition Government.
Norman’s musings aloud on the Greens’ stance on Dotcom’s fight against extradition was a major gaffe. The Greens seem to believe that the wide discretion the law gives to the Minister of Justice amounts to carte blanche for the minister to pick and and choose who goes and who stays.
That discretion in the law is obviously there to deal with any anomalies or unforeseen circumstances.
Norman’s mistake was to talk about blocking Dotcom’s extradition if given the chance, while in almost the same breath referring to Dotcom not going ahead with the launch of his Internet Party which would have dragged votes off the Greens and other left-leaning parties.
Norman might argue he was talking about two very different things. But it was inevitable Key would link them and declare the Greens, who have attacked National’s electoral accommodations with minor parties, were about to strike a far more dodgy one of their own.
It is unwise to declare publicly you would try and veto extradition of someone, at the same time as you’re trying to negotiate an agreement for him to support your party, instead of setting up his own one.
So a good week for Jones, and not a good one for Cunliffe.