That's the question we feel we must ask; has Shane Jones been frozen out of the elite of the parliamentary Labour Party?
We reckon that's the only conclusion which can be drawn from this story on Stuff. Bill English is about to deliver his second budget in less than an hour, and Labour will oppose it strenuously. And where is Shane Jones? He's busy venturing an opinion on whether it was culturally relevant for a member of Ngati Whatua's kapahaka group to hongi Mickey Mouse during a powhiri for the visiting Disney on Ice show. Stuff reports:
Labour MP Shane Jones has called for a debate over when official Maori welcomes are used, saying the current "dial-a-powhiri" is devaluing a national treasure.
Mr Jones' comments come after a powhiri was performed by Ngati Whatua kapa haka group Te Puru o Tamaki for Disney characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse, ahead of the Disney on Ice show in Auckland.The Northland-based Labour list MP described the welcome as a "joke" and "a wake up call", saying a debate about when powhiri were appropriate was "long overdue".
He said he understood the cultural relevance of the Disney characters but said this was "one haka step too far".
"We shouldn't be doing these things just because of money," he said.
"We've got to stop guilt-tripping Pakeha that the powhiri is something of high customary value yet at the drop of a hat and for the clinking of some dollars, we'll turn on a powhiri for Mickey and Minnie."
The overuse of powhiri trivialised what Mr Jones described as a key Maori institution.
He said that while the powhiri for the billion-dollar Disney characters could be viewed as frivolous, acts of this nature were leading to the trivialisation of "key markers in Maori identity".
Oh Shane; lighten up bro! Maori face far more pressing issues than Dial-a-Powhiri. Perhaps it's just Shane's way of venting his spleen in light of the fact that he seems to have slipped down Labour's pecking order. That was always going to happen, of course. Bill Liu made that a certainty.
And although we can resist anything except temptation, we'll bite our tongue and not go down the path of comparisons between Mickey Mouse and the Labour Party - don't let that stop YOU though!
UPDATE: WhaleOil suggests that Jones and some of his colleagues may be aeolists, which, when you check the definition, seems to hit the mark pretty well!