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Jones won’t listen to PM’s council chair

Paul Goldsmith - Economic and Regional Development

29 August 2018

Less than 24 hours after the Prime Minister unveiled her Business Advisory Council, Shane Jones has indicated he won’t be listening to the man chosen to lead it, National’s Economic Development spokesman Paul Goldsmith says.

“Mr Jones, the Government’s Regional Economic Development Minister, made headlines in March this year by calling for Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon and the airline’s board to be sacked.

“When offered the opportunity to resile from his earlier statements about Mr Luxon by Newstalk ZB’s Leighton Smith this morning, Jones refused. He said that he ‘owned his rhetoric’ and that he ‘didn’t ordinarily turn to Mr Luxon for advice.’

“Mr Jones was speaking out of both sides of his mouth when he said he supported the Prime Minister, while making clear he had no time for the head of her new business council.

“No wonder business confidence is so low when senior ministers and the Prime Minister have diametrically opposed views on important measures. Jones portrays himself as pro-growth but much of what the Government is doing is anti-growth.

“It’s not surprising Jones is frustrated. The Prime Minister unveiled the Government’s economic growth strategy yesterday, and it was to remove growth from National’s Business Growth Agenda.

“The Prime Minister’s appointment of Mr Luxon was a slap in the face to Mr Jones and today he has slapped back.

“There is a fundamental dispute at the heart of this Government – do we want growth or not?

“In the Prime Minister’s speech yesterday there was not a single detail, policy or proposal that points to increasing our productivity or growing our per person income. She seems to think saying she wants both of those things is enough.

“Mr Jones knows his Prime Minister is deeply ambivalent about growth but he’s stuck with it.”


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