He's renowned for his straight-talking and matter-of-factness, now a former Far North MP has announced he will run at the next election and in turn 'seek to bring balance back' to the political sphere.
Former Minister for Regional Economic Development and NZ First MP Shane Jones has confirmed he will run for politics again under New Zealand First in 2023.
In October 2017, Jones was appointed as a minister in the New Zealand First–Labour coalition government, holding the portfolios of Infrastructure, Forestry and Regional Economic Development.
In October 2020, Jones contested the Northland electorate but was defeated and NZ First also lost their seats in Parliament, falling below the five per cent parliamentary threshold.
Jones said it was time to make a comeback and to address the elephant in the room regarding Government buckling to subsets of the community on a range of issues including borders, water and development.
He said enough was enough and the issue was further highlighted by a story in the Northland Age on Tuesday regarding a dispute over the naming of the Papakawau Culvert Replacement near Mangonui.
"I am astounded that after 13 meetings, NZTA is giving in to empty threats of litigation from random individuals about the name of the Papakawau project," Jones said.
"Infrastructure projects are taking far too long and Tai Tokerau cannot afford the delay and costliness. It is exhausting goodwill and leading to perverse outcomes.
"This shows the hapū consultation process is too woolly and the public is being fleeced. The new resource management laws need to be stricter."
Jones explained the recent NZTA issue was representative of a broader problem regarding what are, in his opinion, divisive and polarising political decisions.
He said he had grave concerns about any type of power creep, be it bureaucratic, iwi or political.
"The casualties of this problem are the people and Māori themselves don't want a bullseye on them due to excesses in some iwi for freshwater ownership and other fanciful pursuits," Jones said.
"I also sense a growing mood of unease that there is too much kowtowing to iwi on matters such as Covid-19 roadblocks.
"Politically it has become unbalanced and it leaves a void where all Māori endeavours are tainted in the mind of the public.
"Underlying this ideology is the idea that iwi should be given the power of veto over the rest of society. That's political madness and a recipe for economic misery."
Any law that encouraged or led to this behaviour, Jones said, needed to be rewritten.
When questioned about whether he was concerned that his comments may be of detriment to Māori, he said the opposite only kept Māori in 'victimhood'.
"That view premises Māori as perpetually vulnerable, but that's not who we are. We need to tu tangata (stand up) and stop believing the only way progress is possible is by using a crutch," Jones said.
"That belief actually disempowers a whole swath of New Zealanders and is not helpful."
Jones acknowledged many would be displeased with what he had to say but said it was important to not let such issues fester.
For the first time publicly, Jones has confirmed he will re-enter politics under NZ First at the next election.
He said people would have the opportunity to have their say about his opinions at the ballot box.
"I am definitely committed to a 2023 return to Parliament, as 2021 has shown how valuable NZ First was in the last regime," Jones said.
"We would never have agreed with Iwi Labour to pass a Covid-19 law establishing hapū passing lanes while the public is stuck at an iwi checkpoint.
"All nations have history and heritage, but no nation can profitably live in the past. There really is a major difference in philosophy between New Zealand First and Iwi Labour."
"If I get back into Parliament I'll be calling time on issues such as the NZTA spreading this viral hapū consultation condition."