The dysfunction and disunity at the heart of the Government has again been put on display by Shane Jones, National’s Regional Economic Development Minister Paul Goldsmith says.
“It’s clear that New Zealand First is controlling this Government, with Mr Jones continuing to defy the Prime Minister by doubling down on his statements attacking Fonterra’s chairman.
“The Prime Minister has told Mr Jones off before for attacking business leaders. Yet in complete defiance of her, he did it again last week when he attacked Fonterra’s chairman.
“In an attempt to explain this away, the Prime Minister then said that he was speaking in a personal capacity, not as a Minister. Nobody believed that but if it had stopped there, it could have been, as the Prime Minister had hoped, ‘end of story’.
“But then Mr Jones repeated his statements in the House, as a Minister, making the Prime Minister look weak and powerless.
“And he’s done it again today, making it abundantly clear he doesn’t care at all about the Prime Minister’s attempts to discipline him, stating ‘what I said, I own’ and refusing to address the question.
“As the Speaker said today, ‘it is absolutely obvious that if a Member makes a statement in the House in response to a question as a Minister that he is speaking as a Minister’.
“Repeating his statement as a Minister in contradiction of the Prime Minister’s wishes is clear defiance.
“The Prime Minister may be in office, but she’s not in power. The real power lies with New Zealand First, who created this Government and who control this Government.”