Jones back and planning to shake things up

18:46, Dec 19 2011

Labour's Shane Jones is back on the front bench and signalling his intention to shake things up by championing mining for job-starved regions.

Jones was one of the winners in Labour's refresh yesterday, returning to the front bench after a fall from grace over revelations he charged blue movies to his ministerial credit card while a minister in the Helen Clark government.

His return signals his rehabilitation is complete and he is being lined up by new leader David Shearer to take on NZ First leader Winston Peters, who will square off with Labour from the Opposition front benches.

Jones picked up the regional development, associate finance and Maori economic development portfolios and he said yesterday unemployment in provincial New Zealand, responsible for other social ills, would be his big focus.

That meant weighing up job opportunities in "the extractive industries'', including mining, against the party's environmental message.

Labour ran a campaign against mining on conservation land during the last term and Shearer has elevated environment to the number 2 slot in his portfolio rankings by giving it to deputy leader Grant Robertson.

He said last week he would champion a "clean, green, clever'' message as leader.

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