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'I'm not the chief censor' - Jacinda Ardern distances herself from latest Shane Jones controversy


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she is "not the chief censor" on what other coalition party members say when asked this morning about controversial comments made by NZ First MP Shane Jones, a minister in her Government.

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The Prime Minister was asked about NZ First MP Shane Jones’ “redneck” comments towards some farmers. Source: Breakfast

At a protest event last week Mr Jones called some farmers "rednecks". His comments came after recent backlash when he told Indian immigrants unhappy with his point of view on immigration to "catch the next flight home".

Ms Ardern has had to tell the minister to brush up on Cabinet laws in the past, but on TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning she said it wasn't her job to control what he said.

"I'm of course in charge of coalition Government. That means I'm in charge of the ministerial conflict of interests, the way that we manage the Government in terms of doing the job in running the country," she said.

"We are, of course, from time to time going to get comments from other member's of Parliament in different parties that I don't agree with."

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The Forestry Minister was booed by the large crowd, opposed to the Billion Trees Programme. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Ardern said if the comments came from within the Labour Party she would deal with it differently because she is in charge of Labour MPs' conduct as the leader of the party.

"I wouldn't say those things [Mr Jones said] and nor would I expect my team to say those things, but ultimately, New Zealand First, they are their own party.

"I'm not the chief censor, you know, and the way that I choose to do politics is different to the ways that other parties choose to do politics.

"There's a language that I just won't use and that I won't defend, but ultimately people elect the representatives they want in Parliament and it is not my job to go around and act as that censor on all of the language that's used regardless if it is something that I would do or not myself."