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Shane Jones ‘right to go’ – Labour Rotorua candidate

Shane Jones ‘right to go’ – Labour Rotorua candidate

View the full video of this interview at www.themud.co.nz

By Mike Smith

The Labour Party’s Rotorua candidate Tamati Coffey says Shane Jones is best off to leave if his heart’s not in the party.

The decision by the senior Labour politician to quit the party and leave parliament has shocked many as it comes in the lead up to the 2014 general election.

However, Tamati Coffey told www.themud.co.nz that Shane Jones has made the right decision, and Labour has sufficient senior Maori MPs aboard to weather the storm.

The Rotorua candidate, who confirmed he will be on the Labour list, has ties to Rotorua’s Ngati Whakaue, and says if any candidate is not feeling like standing, then it is time to go.

“If you’re in politics, you have to be in it a hundred per cent. Any candidate if they’re not feeling a hundred per cent, if they’re not feeling 80 per cent, if they’re not even feeling 60 per cent, then it is time to go.

“So if Shane’s heart isn’t in it, then the best place for him to be is not within the party.”

Tamati Coffey says he is a newbie coming into politics, with fresh ideas and lots of energy, but has been told by MPs, how important it was to have a firm commitment from his partner to be able to take on politics.

He says the Labour Party has a lot of MPs who are sufficiently senior – and not only in Maori seats.

Meanwhile, Tamati Coffey says he would like to see the Rotorua District Council adopt a “wood first” policy in an effort to boost the region’s ailing forest industry.

He says he has been told as many 140 shops are empty in the Rotorua inner city area. While the council has led new initiatives to boost the inner city, Tamati Coffey says more fundamental economic changes are required.

“It saddens me to walk around Rotorua and to see so many shops that are closed. I know the Central Mall is booming but there are too many shops that are empty.”

A lawyer who deals in property had told him that as many as 140 shops were closed.

“All you need to do is walk around the town and you’ll get a sense of that.”

The council and inner city businesses have launched a new push to boost the town but he wanted to come on board and help do more than was being done at present.

By making Rotorua the heart of forestry, Labour was looking to invest a lot of money to make sure that, for example, all government buildings must be built from wood.

“We want the logs to stay here and create a manufacturing hub in Rotorua.”

Asked if the council should also adopt a “wood first” policy, he said to have the council come on board would only help the economy.


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