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Shane Jones’ defiance of the Prime Minister over repeatedly calling for the resignation or sacking of company leaders is a major test of her leadership, National’s Economic Development spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“New Zealand First is in open defiance of the Prime Minister, with her Deputy suing her own Government and her Regional Economic Development spokesman defying her directive to tone down his destructive comments about New Zealand businesses.

“When Mr Jones called in March for Air New Zealand’s directors to resign the Prime Minister solemnly declared that ‘calling for the sacking of any board member is a step too far and I have told him that’.

“Well it turns out Mr Jones doesn’t care what the Prime Minister has said because he’s done it again, this time targeting Fonterra. It’s a second strike. But instead of a firm response we’ve seen the weasel words that ‘he was expressing a personal view’.

“This comes two days after the Prime Minister tried to claim Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters suing her own government was also a ‘private matter’.

“Well that’s nonsense. These are very public matters which goes to the heart of her Government’s dwindling credibility and the Prime Minister’s weak response underscores the fact she can’t control her own minister and her coalition partner, NZ First.

“Given the incredible lack of discipline and direction from the Government, it’s no wonder business confidence is plummeting.

“That’s worrying because when businesses hold off investing, all New Zealanders miss out on opportunities to get ahead and this Government is only making it worse.

“It’s unacceptable and the Prime Minister should give Mr Jones his final warning.”

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