Shane Jones says he supports the Prime Minister's decision to appoint Air New Zealand's Christopher Luxon to the Business Advisory Panel, despite harshly criticising the airline and CEO earlier this year.
However, the Minister for Regional Economic Development did refer to Mr Luxon as a "celebrity", and in the same interview stated he had "no time for celebrities in business".
When asked by RNZ today if he was calling Mr Luxon a celebrity appointment, Mr Jones said, "he is a celebrity, I'm stating a fact," during an interview on pushing Australian banks to provide regional services.
In March, Mr Jones said he was "thoroughly unimpressed" with Air New Zealand, saying it was "wanting to continually downgrade regional services whilst we are spending money to develop regional opportunity".
Mr Jones also told Mr Luxon to "not poke your nose into the political boxing ring unless you're going to resign today and join the ranks of the National Party", according to Stuff.
"I have to say that Chris, who is a high-powered individual, he is obviously interested in politics, the Prime Minister has supported him and I will say nothing that is a note of dissent from the Prime Minister because I thoroughly support her."
"When you are the Prime Minister and you hold that office, you can appoint who you like. I've got no time for celebrities in business," Mr Jones said to RNZ today.
Mr Jones used the example of Mr Luxon bringing former US President Barack Obama to New Zealand, and said it was an example of business meeting celebrity culture.
"I'm from the provinces," Mr Jones said. "We will ensure that as we go forward he is surrounded by people that are of more earthy dimensions."