Regional Development Minister Shane Jones couldn’t resist a cheeky dig at Air New Zealand’s outgoing chief executive Chris Luxon at the opening of the new Bay of Islands Airport today.
The MP, who has previously been critical of our national carrier for withdrawing services from some regional airports, was addressing a crowd in Kerikeri including representatives from Air New Zealand.
"I’d like to acknowledge the two National MPs who are here today who are no doubt going to get to know the departing (Air NZ) CEO better than I did," he said.
Speaking with media after, Mr Jones said he predicted Mr Luxon would enter into politics saying he was always a "National Party surrogate," but said he should’ve been up front from the get-go.
Mr Jones says while it would’ve been expensive for Air New Zealand to run regional services, the airline was bailed out by the taxpayer and it had a duty to serve those taxpayers in the regions.
"I believe if the outgoing CEO of Air New Zealand does want to become a politician that is a legacy that will taint his role as a politician," said Mr Jones.