Shane Jones and the nature of the Labour Party

Posted: April 28, 2014 by Admin in Distractions, Labour Party NZ, National Party NZ, New Zealand politics

3798012by Philip Ferguson

I think it is a hoot that Shane Jones has taken the bribe and run.  He will now have some kind of diplomatic career in the Pacific.

In terms of the big picture it’s symptomatic of bourgeois politics. But in a more immediate way, it’s symptomatic of the nature of the modern Labour Party.

Once upon a time Labour MPs came up through the ranks, usually serving as union officials for a number of years as their kind of apprenticeship, then having a go at an unwinnable seat (or two), then being handed a safe Labour seat when some old Labour MP died or retired.

Now, the Labour parliamentary caucus is just a band of ambitious professional self-seekers, lacking even the old rudimentary social-democratic principles that once bound Labour together as a pretty cohesive party. Party loyalty was highly valued, albeit of the mindless variety that worked at the expense of workers. Today, most of that is gone.

The less-talented folks might tend to stick with being Labour MPs, simply because this is the best (or even only) way they’re likely to get high pay, privileges and perks; but there is a swathe of Labour MPs drawn from the professional classes for whom being a Labour MP is simply a stepping-stone, a CV-builder, to a bigger career elsewhere in the curiously-titled ‘public service’ or in the private sector.

How interchangeable these parties are was also evidenced by Shane Jones’ bid for the Labour leadership last year (for an analysis of the leadership contest and the left, see here.  Sir Wira Gardiner, husband of National party cabinet minister Hekia Parata, donated $1,000 to Jones’ bid to become Labour leader.  Another donor was Roger Finlay, a member of the board of NZ Oil and Gas.  Gardiner, who is a National Party supporter, said he gave the donation to help Maori leadership development.

Shane Jones’ career change is simply part of the price that Labour pays for being what it is.

In terms of workers’ interests, it’s neither here nor there. Grasping bourgeois individuals are part of the culture of modern capitalist politics and will continue to be so as long as the working class allows those politics to exist.

See also: The truth about Labour – a bosses party:


  1. Brian Sandle says:

    Shane is looking at being CEO of Sealord. He has been a chairman following Tipene O’Regan. Sealord’s profits are down, not only due to its failure of Yuken in South America, but also due to lower fish stocks and failing to be green about fish might be in slightly longer term worse for the company, or that part of it which has not followed Yuken. Who got Yuken and what is the economic theory taught at the Kennedy School where Shane and David went?

  2. Don Franks says:

    See also Indymedia’s comprehensive :”The Apotheosis of Shane Jones”