By Patrick Gower
The Prime Minister has labelled David Shearer a "hypocrite" for defending MP Shane Jones for granting citizenship to a Chinese businessman who donated to the Labour party.
The Labour leader has been calling for John Banks to be sacked over the Kim Dotcom affair, but Mr Shearer says Mr Jones can keep his job.
Yong Ming Yan is currently on trial for making false statements to obtain New Zealand citizenship.
He is a mystery millionaire businessman using multiple names.
During the citizenship process, he was helped by Shane Jones, leaving David Shearer defending his senior MP.
“I'm satisfied that from what Shane has said to me, the process that he followed was the right one,” says Mr Shearer.
That process went like this:
Mr Yan was subject to an Interpol "red alert" relating to charges in China and faced questions about his true identity.
Internal Affairs officials recommended Mr Yan's citizenship should be declined.
But Mr Jones, as Associate Immigration Minister, ignored them and approved it.
John Key says Mr Shearer's defence of Mr Jones is farcical.
Mr Yan donated to both Labour and National.
Mr Shearer said John Key must sack John Banks because he failed to declare a donation from Kim Dotcom.
Yet Mr Shearer claims this is different. Mr Jones did not get any money from Mr Yan and followed due process.
But while Mr Shearer backs that process, he stopped short of backing Mr Jones' final decision.
When asked if Yong Ming Yan should be a New Zealand citizen, David Shearer responded he was “not making that decision”.
“All I'm saying is, was the process the right one?”
The Yan issue has left Mr Shearer seriously vulnerable. His staunch criticism of Mr Key's handling of John Banks is now being openly dismissed as opportunistic and hypocritical by the Prime Minister.