It is needed for supporting some of the Kinect variants, not all of them work with OpenNI. It's also been a little easier to support exotic computing platforms with this driver. I'd prefer to keep the Kinect support for the TurtleBot for now.
I hope rereleasing will be just a few minutes since there's been no changes for a long time and we can just move on.
We chose for the TurtleBot maintenance load to only do the LTS releases which is why we didn't push to have this released into Jade.
PS for anyone making releases please remember to update rosdistro and bloom before running. And if bloom prompts for new actions allow it since we've added targets for debian Jessie and Fedora.