Shane Jones is, apparently, weighing up his future in politics:
Labour MP Shane Jones has indicated he is weighing up his future in politics if he does not get strong endorsement from Maori voters in November's general election.
Mr Jones said on Te Kaea on Maori Television he wanted to win the Tamaki Makaurau seat - currently held by Maori Party leader Pita Sharples - and if he did not he would "reconsider my options".
When Parekura Horomia bows out of politics Shane will, in my opinion, assume the role of leader of the Maori Caucus. However, should both Parekura and Shane exit then the Maori Caucus will be left in a weak position. Remembering that other members of the old guard are either retiring (Mita Ririnui) or choosing to take a backseat (Nanaia Mahuta). This leaves only Kelvin Davis and, assuming they make it in, Deborah Mahuta-Coyle and Rino Tirikatene. Moana Mackey could also be considered, but I tend to think her loyalties do not lie with the Maori Caucus.
However, should Shane win he will almost certainly be reinstated to the front bench and would be in a position to build a compelling case to be ranked in the top five – maybe deputy leader. Shane would complement David Cunliffe or David Parker, however, and Shane has admitted this, he must work harder to gain the respect of caucus. The Maori Caucus, as a bloc, do not have the power to propel Shane to the top nor do they, in my opinion, maintain the alliances with other blocs needed to do so. Shane needs to put himself in a position where the Labour Party need him. Winning Tamaki Makaurau, and in the process displacing one of the co-leaders of the Maori Party, would be Shane’s first step towards cementing himself as a political force and breaking his reliance on the Labour Party. As a list MP Shane is beholden to the party. With a seat Shane is beholden to his constituents.
For what it’s worth I think Shane is more likely to win than not. He is by no means a shoe-in, but is in with a strong chance regardless of how well he runs his campaign. There will be a reflex swing against the Maori Party in every electorate and in light of the Horizon Poll taken earlier in the year it appears that the reflex swing is most pronounced in Tamaki Makaurau. Of course Willie Jackson, should he decide to stand, will be a complicating factor and in my opinion (and also Rawiri Taonui’s) he will have a strong chance of snatching the seat too. Interesting times ahead.