Shane Jones in 'open defiance' of PM after Fonterra comments, say National

National MP Paul Goldsmith has called Shane Jones' critical comments of Fonterra "embarrassing" for the Prime Minister and said her response had been weak. 

Mr Jones yesterday said dairy giant Fonterra had become disconnected from the farming community.

"I thoroughly believe this, and I've said it elsewhere, as the CEO leaves Fonterra the chairman in quick order should catch the next cab out of town," he said. 

"I think Shane Jones is in open defiance of the Prime Minister," Mr Goldsmith said. "She made it very clear last time he got on his high horse and started attacking business leaders that it was a step too far and he shouldn’t do it, and he's out doing it again."

In March, Mr Jones criticised Air New Zealand, saying they had "turned their back" on provincial small towns. 

"Of course it's embarrassing, and it must be very frustrating for her, but her response has been weak, because she’s made it quite clear it was a step too far last time, he's done it again," Mr Goldsmith said. 

Mr Jones said he believed Fonterra had become disconnected from the farming community. Source: 1 NEWS

The Prime Minister today said today Mr Jones made the comments in a personal capacity.

"He did not make them as a Minister, and it's not Government policy, end of story," Ms Ardern said. 

However Mr Goldsmith said it was not the end of the story. 

"When you're a Cabinet Minister responsible for regional economic development and you're talking about the company that is the largest company in the regions of New Zealand, you're not entitled to a personal opinion."

Mr Jones stood by his comments, telling media he does not "shy away from owning" his views. 

The Regional Economic Development Minister said he made the comments in a closed meeting. Source: 1 NEWS

"I think that from time-to-time in a MMP coalition Government, a robust NZ First politician such as myself, should be entitled to serve notice on these corporate aristocrats."

MP Paul Goldsmith said Mr Jones’ comments were “embarrassing” for the Prime Minister. Source: 1 NEWS

Watch: 'I'm sued more than a thousand times a year' – Attorney-General David Parker on being sued by colleague Winston Peters

Attorney-General David Parker is being sued by Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters after his superannuation details were made public in the lead-up to the election last year.

Mr Parker said at Parliament today that "as the Attorney-General, I am the named person who is sued whenever the government is sued, and I'm sued more than a thousand times a year".

"That is the right of Mr Peters to try and find out who it was within government [who] leaked his personal information and used it as a political attack during the election," Mr Parker said.

"I do think you have to protect democracy against skullduggery [... ] It's important that you keep the system clean."

The Attorney-General compared Mr Peters' case to that of journalist Nicky Hager, whose home was raided by police in 2014 following the release of his book Dirty Politics.

This week Mr Hager won a payout and apology from police over the raid. 

Mr Peters is suing the Ministry of Social Development, two former government cabinet ministers - National's Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley - and two top civil servants, over the alleged leak of information about him being overpaid his pension.

Mr Peters paid the money back when the matter was brought to his attention. 

Mr Parker is sued in place of MSD, in his role as Attorney-General. 

David Parker is being sued by Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters over personal information about his pension being leaked. Source: 1 NEWS


Findings of investigation into SAS Afghanistan raids to be released soon

As the Australian Defence Force looks into allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan, its New Zealand counterpart is carrying out its own probe into serious accusations against troops.

Outgoing New Zealand Defence Force chief Tim Keating today confirmed that allegations New Zealand soldiers had provoked a deadly firefight, mistreated corpses and tied up Afghan civilians in 2004 were being investigated.

"I'm looking at all those allegations. I'm compiling the information that was provided and the accusations that were made," Mr Keating told reporters in Wellington today.

The investigation was in its final stages and the findings would be released shortly, he said.

Mr Keating defended the time taken, saying there was a legal process to go through.

The claims were made in a documentary series by news website Stuff last year, citing local villagers and military sources.

The NZDF at the time released a 34-page reply, standing by its original inquiries into the 2004 skirmish in which two New Zealand soldiers and four Afghan troops were killed.

It is the second probe into Kiwi troops in Afghanistan.

The government in April launched an inquiry into allegations six civilians were killed and 15 injured during a "revenge attack" on two Afghan villages led by New Zealand SAS troops in 2010.

Lt Gen Tim Keating has spoken today about a raid in Afghanistan in 2010 involving NZ SAS that saw civilians killed.
Lt Gen Tim Keating. Source: 1 NEWS