From the Herald this morning:
List MP Shane Jones is entering the race for the Labour leadership, saying he believes he can attract blue-collar workers back to the fold and take on “the $50 million gorilla”, Prime Minister John Key.
Mr Jones said last night his style of “smoko room” politics and debating ability were the best way to beat National and get working-class voters to turn to Labour, which he said had lost its relevancy.
Up against two former diplomats, Mr Jones is pitching himself as the non-PC, grass-roots candidate. Taking a swipe at those in his party with academic backgrounds – despite himself having an MA from Harvard University – Mr Jones said his style “might not resonate in the common room, but rest assured it will be relevant in the smoko room”.
I would not describe Shane as a “grass roots” candidate. My impression is that support for him amongst the membership is sparse although it is there.
He acknowledged his underdog status, but believed his focus on “bread and butter” issues rather than beltway political issues would have support.
“The Labour brand is a proud and true brand. Unfortunately, we have allowed that brand to become irrelevant in how a whole bunch of New Zealanders see their personal circumstances.
“The 800,000 who didn’t vote last time need to see Labour as relevant to what they need to help bring their kids up. It’s simple stuff: jobs, income, security, sport, life.”
I have not been able to track down a press release or a website but he does have a facebook page here.
Mike Williams is right in that Shane will inject a degree of humour into the campaign and that the distribution of his preferences could be vital.
In related room Grant Robertson said this morning that he can unify the Labour Party. He denied letting Shearer flounder and said that he supported Shearer fully. He promised that there would be a position in his senior team available for David Cunliffe if he was leader. He did not see the motion of no confidence in Shearer. He also used the word “mythology” when talking about ABC. He promised to unify the party and lead it to victory in 2014. The audio is here.