Progressive Enterprises will be heaving a collective sigh of relief knowing that the most prolific bully in the anti-Countdown campaign will no longer be around to harangue them and their practices, nor will he be making any more outrageous allegations.
In a shock announcement today it has been revealed that Labour MP Shane Jones has abruptly decided to quit both his party affiliations and politics, opting to focus on ‘other things’. He is expected to leave by the end of this month.
It is a dramatic change from his previous angle, with his all-out assault against Countdown (“Those Australian Supermarkets!”) which has continued since mid-February.
The last example which I wrote about in my previous post was publicised in the media just last week, when he claimed he had received a letter highlighting the relationship between the Lotteries Commission and Progressives, simultaneously accusing Countdown of bullying the lotto giant and inferring that Countdown and Lotto had been working together in some dastardly plot, trying to suck New Zealanders into gambling without abandon and making claims that both companies were receiving substantial payments and funding for working together.
Jones and Cunliffe are tight-lipped around the reasons for his departure and the surprise resignation seems to have come as a shock to the party as a whole. However Jones claims there have been discussions going on ‘behind the scenes’ and he had not sprung the announcement on the party.
Last year, Jones made a leadership bid but lost out to Cunliffe.
Could there be an underlying resentment and case of sour grapes lingering?
It might explain why he went rouge against Progressive Enterprises – but it doesn’t explain why no one stopped him.
It has also been revealed today that Sir Wira Gardiner, husband of National party MP Hekia Parata, donated $1000 last year to Jones’ leadership bid.
Legislation requires MPs to declare donations which total more than $500.
Recently Labour leader David Cunliffe came under fire when it was revealed he had set up a private trust account to collect donations for his campaign last year. He was forced to admit that it had been wrong and he should have been more transparent. In total he received 5 donations over the threshold. Three of those donors agreed to be named, but two declined and so their donations (totaled at $8300) were to be returned to them.
Could these donations from the husband of a National MP be part of the motivation for Jones’ shock exit?
Or could it be because he has been head-hunted for an ambassador level role as confirmed by foreign Minister Murray McCully?
Jones claims he has not yet been formally offered the role and that he is also considering ‘other offers’.
It does make you wonder if he’s been planning to cut and run for some time.
If so, he’ll certainly exit having made a name for himself.
Watch this space – What will be revealed next?