Northland-based Labour list MP Shane Jones has again hit out at the Green Party for opposing development of the regions’s resources, including oil and gas, which he says could help reduce spiralling Maori unemployment.
Green Party oceans spokesman Gareth Hughes said the Government was “gambling with New Zealand’s economy” by allowing the exploration in deep water, “because if there is a leak there is no sure way to stopit”.
Promotion of the petroleum industry was “not a smart way to run the economy”, he said.
But Mr Jones, who has clashed with the Greens before over the prospect of mining in Northland and also over the party’s criticism of the fishing industry, said Mr Hughes’ opposition was premature.
“Let the information be uncovered first. It may be that the area is commercially barren, not unlike the minds conceiving that Green rhetoric.”
So this is clearly a Labour Party strategy rather than Shane Jones spontaneously going off the reservation three times in the past month. And it’s pretty smart: Jones is high profile but not on the front bench, so he can’t be seen as speaking for the party. I guess they think this will help him capture one of the Maori seats in 2014. And the Greens can’t really retaliate because they need to promote the idea that the Greens and Labour are a viable coalition partner.