Labour MP Shane Jones will leave politics at the end of
next month, saying he had come to the conclusion over Easter
that it was time to go.
Mr Jones said he had told Labour leader David Cunliffe of his
decision as well as the Party President Moira Coatsworth.
He has been in talks with Foreign Minister Murray McCully for
some time about a possible role in international fisheries
management and expected that to go through.
He said he would leave at the end of next month after
reflecting over Easter about his future.
"I was true to myself after I lost the leadership. I'm not
able to give Labour the 100 per cent that I ought to be
giving. They need a team that will stay for the long term and
I'm not in that space.''
TV3 reported Mr Jones would be taking on a role of Pacific
Economic Ambassador, created by the National Government
especially for him.
Foreign Minister Murray McCully confirmed he had approached
Mr Jones early in the year about a role focusing on economic
development across the Pacific.
He denied the role was created for Jones, saying he would
have appointed somebody else if Jones declined.
He said the final discussions were yet to be held, but he had
made it clear to Mr Jones that he was Mr McCully's first
choice because of his background on Te Ohu Kaimoana (Maori
Fisheries Commission) and his commercial skills.
He said the role would involve developing the aid New Zealand
provides to Pacific countries for fisheries as well as other
economic development areas.
Senior members of Labour were not aware of his decision to
Mr Jones entered Parliament in 2005 and was promoted to
Cabinet in November 2007 as Minister for Building and
Construction. He was re-elected to Parliament in 2008 and has
served as spokesman for Maori Affairs and Economic
Development, and associate spokesperson for Finance.
Last year, he contested the leadership of the Labour Party in
a leadership election, but lost to David Cunliffe.
In recent months, he has been an outspoken critic of
supermarket chains using their buying power to influence