Shane Jones returns to his roots

By Peter de Graaf of the Northern Advocate -
Labour's Shane Jones. Photo / File
Labour's Shane Jones. Photo / File

Labour MP Shane Jones has returned to his Northland roots and set up home near Kerikeri.

Mr Jones, who is currently ranked seventh on his party's list and is its spokesman on Maori affairs and regional development, spent the past two years in Auckland where he challenged Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples for the Tamaki Makaurau seat.

He was born at Awanui and lived for many years in the Mangonui area, and is now back in the North as he ponders his political future.

Mr Jones said he was waiting for the Maori electorate boundaries to be settled before making a call on which seat to contest in the 2014 general election.

As well as Tamaki Makaurau in 2011 he contested the Northland electorate in 2005 and 2008. His best result was in 2011 with 6184 votes to Mr Sharples' 7120.

The former fisheries boss said that with former MP Kelvin Davis in no hurry to return to politics and plenty of MPs in Auckland, the party felt he would be more useful boosting Labour's visibility in the North.

He was acutely aware of how strong the National vote was in Northland but would put his energies into advocating for a region which had become an "economic orphan" of government policies.

At an economic summit in Kerikeri last week Prime Minister John Key spoke of the "poverty beyond belief" afflicting some Northlanders. However, Mr Jones said the answer to reversing that poverty lay in allocating a bigger share of the budget to Northland.

The MP is living in a rented house on Waimate North Rd with his partner Dorothy Pumipi.

Mr Jones said both he and Mr Davis had found living in the Kaitaia/Doubtless Bay area meant spending a huge amount of travelling. He hoped his proximity to Bay of Islands airport would solve that.

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