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The Prime Minister must act now to assert her leadership against the Regional Economic Development Minister, who is running amok and openly defying her, National’s Economic Development spokesman Paul Goldsmith says.

“This morning, Shane Jones doubled down on his criticism of Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon, whom the Prime Minister has appointed to chair her Business Advisory Council.  

“Yesterday Mr Jones refused to resile from his earlier attacks on Mr Luxon and today he went further, dismissing him as a celebrity and bizarrely finishing his interview with Radio New Zealand by saying he should not ‘covet the ass of his neighbour’.

“There’s no other explanation than to conclude that Mr Jones has given the middle finger to the Prime Minister, whose Business Council – yet another working group – is a desperate attempt to be seen to be doing something.

“The Government’s attempted charm offensive with a deeply concerned business community is now in tatters with one of the senior economic ministers at war with business leaders.

“Today he added banks to the long list of businesses to be subjected to his ill-considered clobbering tactics. He started with supermarkets, then Fonterra, then Air New Zealand and the Warehouse and now the banks.

“Nobody, it seems, can do a decent job other than Mr Jones himself.

“It’s well past time for the Prime Minister to assert her leadership and discipline Mr Jones. The fact that the Government is now at war with itself is only contributing to the uncertainty that lies behind low levels of business confidence.”

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