Candidate profile: Shane Jones

  • Breaking
  • 11/10/2011

Shane Jones is tipped to be a future Labour leader - and possible Prime Minister - but has a few hurdles to overcome if that dream is to become a reality.


Born in the Far North, Shane Jones has strong ties with his local community of Mangonui.

He enjoys a mixed ancestry of Maori and Dalmatian and once quipped that he relies on his “Maori guile and Dalmatian industriousness”.

Shane attended school in Kaitaia and would eventually study economics and politics at Auckland University, as well as study in Australia and later Harvard – after being awarded the Harkness Fellowship.

Shane and his wife Ngareta have seven children and live between their residences in Wellington and the Far North.

Career in politics:

Shane first entered Parliament in 2005 and became Chair of the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee.

In Labour’s 2007 reshuffle he was appointed Minister of Building and Construction and made Associate Minister in charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and Immigration & Trade.

It has long been speculated that Shane would one day front the Labour Party due to his strong leadership skills and good public image.

Such aspirations, though, took a solid knock in June, 2010 when the MP was caught up in the highly-ublicisd expenses scandal. Shane was found to have used the Crown credit card for personal use – his most damaging purchase being pay-per-view pornography while staying at hotels on work trips.

While Shane has often referenced his Maori and Slavic blood, it was his red-bloodedness he called on to explain his blue movie blunder.

"I'm a red-blooded adult, it shouldn't have happened, it has happened, it doesn't make me feel particularly worthy but I'm not going to hide from it."

Shane was swiftly disciplined and demoted from the front benches. Since then the MP has slowly been rebuilding his reputation.

Recently he received the backing of parting MP Mita Ririnui, who said Shane should replace Phil Goff as Labour Leader after the next election.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia and Mana Party leader Hone Harawira also publically backed the MP, following Mr Ririnui’s blessing.

Notable achievements:

- Became chairman of the Waitangi Fisheries Commission and helped settle a feud between 70 iwi over $1 billion worth of assets

After the 2007 Labour reshuffle he became Cabinet Minister of Building and Construction, Associate Minister of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Immigration and Trade

Under the current National Government he was made Environment and economic Spokesmanship in opposition. He was then demoted in 2010 after the expenses scandal.

What you might not know:

Despite Shane Jones’ more pragmatic approach to Maori affairs he admits he was an activist in his younger years.

He once disclosed that in the 1980s he joined up with another young radical called Hone Harawira in a group that fought for Maori land rights. But nowadays, he says he know longer shares Mr Harawira’s ideological stance.

Famous quote:

"My waka's certainly going to be in the backwaters, but, hey, I put myself there. Whether I've got the power, the strength, to paddle my waka anywhere else, time will tell."

Gaffes and blunders:

The 2010 expenses scandal that outed Shane’s wayward spending has so far been the sole blemish on his political record – but it almost cost him his job.

He used his Crown credit card for chartering a plane, purchasing hotel movies (including pornography), books, CDs, food and Panadol.

Shane’s leader Phil Goff demoted him to the backbenches but, despite rumours, he was able to keep his job but the porn-scandal remains an ongoing joke among his colleagues and media.

In a sentence:

Shane Jones is the pragmatic Labour MP with an eye for the leadership, a heart for Maori affairs, and an occasional penchant for pornography.

source: newshub archive