Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Jones in race for passport

Shane Jones will have both friend and foe from his old life to help him adjust while on the trip. Photo / APN
Shane Jones will have both friend and foe from his old life to help him adjust while on the trip. Photo / APN

Former Labour MP Shane Jones is on his first trip as the new Pacific Economic Ambassador, but he nearly didn't make it - just days beforehand he realised his passport was missing.

Mr Jones is on the Prime Minister's Pacific Mission but had to organise an emergency passport application after his car was broken into while at a debate hosted by his former colleague, Labour MP David Shearer, in Mt Albert about six weeks ago.

Jones started within days of resigning from Parliament and said he was "still going through my transition" from his high-profile former life into the bureaucracy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Jones will have both friend and foe from his old life to help him adjust while on the trip. Among the MPs going are his friend Mr Shearer and his old enemy, Green co-leader Metiria Turei.

However, on the work front Foreign Minister Murray McCully has made it clear Jones will have to "transition" quickly. Samoa is hosting the Small Island States Conference in September, an important undertaking which will see about 3000 UN delegates visit.

New Zealand is helping fund and organise that, including measures such as getting cruise ships in as temporary accommodation. Jones will be part of New Zealand's efforts.

Mr McCully wants New Zealand to have more to show from its $300 million a year development programme in the Pacific. He said there were opportunities to be tapped to lift Pacific Island countries' revenue especially in fisheries, agriculture and horticulture.

- NZ Herald

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