Go Shane Jones

I’m liking Shane Jones on the front bench of Labour.

First he says:

Labour MP Shane Jones says his party has to realise that National has the numbers to push through state asset sales, and he will not criticise iwi which wish to invest in them.

Yesterday Mr Jones said that although Labour opposed state asset sales they were now inevitable and iwi wanting to invest in them for commercial reasons should not be pilloried.

He indicated a more pragmatic stance on the issue was ahead as Labour sought to re-build its links with business and enterprises.

I suspect Labour may make the mistake of trying to refight the 2011 election in 2014. I doubt asset sales will be an issue in 2014. They will have occurred, and the sky will not have fallen in. Prices would not have gone up beyond normal, and the only difference is we’ll have less debt, lower dividends plus lower interest payments on the reduced debt and 100,000+ new shareholders in them. I doubt National will promise any further part-sales in 2014, and most people will wonder what the fuss was about.

Anyway today Shane has also said:

Labour’s Shane Jones is back on the front bench and signalling his intention to shake things up by championing mining for job-starved regions.

Jones was one of the winners in Labour’s refresh yesterday, returning to the front bench after a fall from grace over revelations he charged blue movies to his ministerial credit card while a minister in the Helen Clark government.

His return signals his rehabilitation is complete and he is being lined up by new leader David Shearer to take on NZ First leader Winston Peters, who will square off with Labour from the Opposition front benches.

Jones picked up the regional development, associate finance and Maori economic development portfolios and he said yesterday unemployment in provincial New Zealand, responsible for other social ills, would be his big focus.

That meant weighing up job opportunities in “the extractive industries”, including mining, against the party’s environmental message.

Excellent. This is looking to be a far less ideological front bench – and that is a good thing.

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