Friday, June 11, 2010

Frank Newman: Shane Jones should go

The actions of Shane Jones are worse than reckless. The man is not fit to hold public office and the public know that. I have no doubt voters would toss him out of office if they were given the opportunity to do so. Unfortunately they won’t have that opportunity. As a list MP Jones was not elected to Parliament, he was appointed by the Labour Party and it is they and they alone who will determine whether Jones has a future as an MP. No doubt they will decide that issue not on a matter of principle but on what is in their own best interests.

I personally don’t care if Shane Jones watches porn and its none of my business what he does in the privacy of his own motel room, but I do care and it is my business when he expects me, and you, to pay for it.

Some are asking why he did something some blatantly wrong. My answer is because he can. He charged personal things to his parliamentary credit card because he thought he would get away with it. This is not a case of mistake or flushing the expenses through a reimbursement type system. He repaid the expenses well after the event and fessed up only when he was going to be outed by the media.

Even when he did fess up he did so in a self serving way. Yesterday on Morning Report he “could not recall” whether the movies had Disney or adult themes. Later that day he was forced to admit they were the latter when journalists proved that to be the case. Clearly Jones is quick to state he his fessing up, but slow to do so in a full and frank manner.

Jones has got talent… no doubt about that. His talent is he’s a great talker and he sounds good. That’s why he’s risen so quickly within the Maori community and the Labour Party ranks. But I suspect he has also become so confident about this oratory that he thinks he can talk his way out of any problem, no matter how grave that situation may be or how culpable he is.

The trouble for MPs is that Jones has seriously tainted the image of Parliament and the integrity of all members. Integrity is important because Parliament relies on public co-operation to pay taxes and abide by the laws of the land. How many people will now be justifying a little bit of tax dodging by saying there is no way they are going to pay for some MP to watch dirty movies. It is in the interests of all MPs that Jones should be given his marching orders. Clark probably would have done so; Goff probably does not have the testicular fortitude to do so.

The other issue of importance to Parliament is MMP. Sending Jones to the back benches to take a cold shower will simply highlight the fact that MMP has resulted in a privileged class of parliamentarian who are not accountable to the public.


Eric Crampton said...

iPredict has Shane Jones leaving Parliament at $0.15: a 15% chance he's pushed out in the next month. I'm short. You?

Frank Newman said...

Hi Eric, Goff is unlikely to send him packing and even if Jones has no future within Labour I can't see him resigning on a matter of principle. He is more likely to hang in until the next election, enjoying the decent salary and making the most of the free travel whilst cultivating new business opportunities.

Peter Mountain said...

I do care what MPs do in the privacy of their motel rooms, not because I have some kind of grubby interest in the details, but (using this case as an example) Shane Jones' personal, private values will ultimately be the same as his public values. At the very least watching dirty movies demonstrates a disrespect for women. Perhaps our leaders should be expected to exercise a little self-control in their inner lives, not just in outward actions?

Anonymous said...

Frank, you didn't pay for it. He did, but he borrowed the money, for a short while, from the taxpayer. It is madness to pretend the various privat charges billed to Shane's ministerial credit card were a rort on the taxpayer.
But he showed lack of judgement by not charging private expenses to his own credit card when the rules were so clear.
That is the problem - I don't want people with that level of incompetent judgement to be in charge of a Ministry!

Alan Dempsey said...

It just might all be very Dan Brown; Maybe (just mayyyyybe) Phil Goff is smarter than we think. He puts Nats weights up re card spending knowing that John Key knows that the Labour piggies running their (Animal) Farm had their socialist snouts deep in the trough. Phil G knows from Clark's dossiers (and she, like Muldoon, did keep them) on all MPs; that Jones had been watching porn on the Ministers c/card.(do you honestly think that the mandarins would not have picked that up in their reimbursement audits?) Phil Goff puts Nat MPs weights up knowing that JK will call all the C/card records to account of the last govt and thus springs/shames Shane Jones.. who without a doubt would have rolled Phil Goff if Labour don't win the next election. I think Phil Goff sounded very Presidential this afternoon announcing the demotions... now Phil's a nice guy but he sure as hell has never sounded Presidential before! I reckon he's practiced that speech for weeks ! LOL. It'd make a great movie.! Kiwis seem to love Machiavellian PMs... if this gets out (true or not)... maybe Phil's a shoe in at next election!.. in fact if he stands his ground on Foreshore and Seabed, it's a very distinct possibility.

Anonymous said...

I sincerely believe that what a man is & does when no one is looking speaks volumes about his character.I am just thankful all these revelations have come now,& not after an election where it is possible one of the people could have ended up as our P.M. Hopefully all politicians will remember the old saying"be sure your sins will find you out"& act with more integrity in future.

Anonymous said...

Even if he did pay the money back, it has cost the taxpayer the interest on the use of the money between when he racked it up and when he repaid it (i.e. the opportunity cost of funds).