- Up to 40 diplomats made the trek last night to the annual party of fellow diplomat Shane Jones and his fiancé Dot Pumipi in Kerikeri - but they almost didn't make it.
Up to 40 diplomats from Wellington and Canberra made the trek last night to the annual party of fellow diplomat Shane Jones and his fiancé Dot Pumipi in Kerikeri - but they almost didn't make it.
It is understood the diplomats' plans were put on ice a few days ago because of incorrect speculation that at the party, Jones would announce his intentions to join New Zealand First after his term as a roving Pacific Ambassador ends in May.
But it was never Jones' intention to make any announcement while he is still a diplomat.
Jones said the party had become something of an institution around Waitangi.
"It has got a particular piquancy this year because it is a happy couple recently engaged - domestically that is," Jones told the Herald on Sunday last night.
"No announcements of a political engagement nature tonight or in the short term or in the foreseeable future."
The diplomats arrived by bus from Whangarei where they were hosted yesterday afternoon by Foreign Minister Murray McCully who will also leave his job in May.
Jones, a former Labour MP and former Labour leadership contender, will end his term in May and is expected to join New Zealand First after that and offer himself as a parliamentary candidate for the September 23 election.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters was among guests last night.
Also among the 220 acceptances were Greens co-leader James Shaw, National minister Mark Mitchell, Labour deputy leader Annette King. No Maori Party leadership attended although co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell was invited.
Party president Tukoroirangi Morgan was at the 65th birthday party in Russell of former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley.