Shane Jones v Air NZ: Jacinda Ardern reprimands Shane Jones for saying Air NZ CEO, board chair should resign

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has attempted to put a muzzle on Shane Jones.

The NZ First MP believes he is building a "chorus of support" over the issue. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Ardern moved to shut down her regional economic development minister today after he continued attacks on Air New Zealand, calling for their CEO to step down if he wanted to talk politics instead of business.

"Calling for the sacking of any board member is a step too far and i have told Shane Jones that," she told media today. 

"I have certainly explained to him that he is absolutely entitled to an opinion which he has shared, but suggesting anyone from the board should go is a step too far."

When asked if Mr Jones' actions were means for stepping down, Ms Ardern said: "This is not a sacking offence. not for any Air New Zealand board member, not for Shane."

"He's expressed an opinion, one that i know some New Zealanders will certainly share some sympathy for, particularly those in the regions, but suggesting someone should be sacked is too far."

After attacking Air NZ yesterday for what he perceives as them failing the regions, Mr Jones stepped it up a notch this morning.

"If you want to be a politician step down today ... otherwise get back into your box," Mr Jones said in reference to CEO Christopher Luxton.

He went on to tell Mr Luxton, through an interview with RNZ: "Don't jump into the political boxing ring ... you are an executive ... your job is not to be a publicity officer and try and thwart the legitimate role of a Parliamentarian."

He also hammered the Air NZ board: "The essence of corporate accountability is that shareholders put pressure on the board to test whether or not their strategy is fit for purpose," he told RNZ.

"In terms of the growth and connectivity in provincial New Zealand it will not increase unless that board changes."

Following Mr Jones' comments this morning National Party Economic and Regional Development spokesperson Paul Goldsmith sent out a statement saying: "Jones needs to get some discipline".

"While some regional New Zealanders may share Mr Jones' frustration with air services, Shane Jones is going too far indulging in personal attacks on business leaders," Mr Goldsmith wrote.

"Attacking public companies is a strange approach to economic development.

"It is up to Air New Zealand to defend its record in regional New Zealand, and it's perfectly appropriate for politicians to raise questions of performance ... what's not acceptable is a style of politics based on attacks on businesses and their leaders."

It seems the prime minster agreed, reprimanding Jones for today's remarks.

Air New Zealand chairman Tony Carter defends his airline

His comments follow Air New Zealand announcing, earlier this month, it would no longer conduct flights to the Kapiti Coast -  flights to Kaitaia were halted in 2015.

Air New Zealand chairman Tony Carter has defended his airline, this morning telling Morning Report that Air New Zealand's independence from government - in terms of making decisions based on profit, not public benefit - has paid off with strong growth.

The airline is 52 per cent owned by the government, but has no official obligations to the public other than returning a profit.

Mr Carter yesterday wrote a letter to Finance Minister Grant Robertson in response to the criticism, saying "any appearance of a lack of commercial independence is viewed seriously by the Air New Zealand Board and is ultimately potentially damaging to the interests of all shareholders, including the Crown".

The NZ First MP's comments follow the carrier's decision to cut flights between Kapiti Coast and Christchurch. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Luxton agreed with that sentiment during an interview on radio today.

Last month Air NZ announced a record half year profit of $232m.


The Prime Minister says calling for the sacking of any board member is a step too far. Source: 1 NEWS



Meka Whaitiri says she accepts PM's call to sack her as she faces media barrage on return

Meka Whaitiri accepts Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s decision to sack her as a minister, saying she is committed to self-improvement as she returned to parliament.

Ms Whaitiri was sacked as Customs Minister after an investigation by ministerial services into an alleged assault of a staffer during an event in Gisborne in late August.

The Prime Minister says she took action after an investigation deemed an incident did happen. Source: 1 NEWS

She batted away repeated questions from the media about the investigation and its findings, which she disputes.

“It’s been a debilitating time, but I really want to reflect on what I need to do to improve myself, to regain the confidence of the prime minister,” she said.

“I’m absolutely gutted, but I accept the prime minister’s decision but I’m going to work really hard and reflect on what I need to do to improve myself.”

“I can’t talk about the report until it’s released but like I said, I accept the prime minister’s decision.”

Ms Whaitiri, the MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, said she was grateful for the support from Māori caucus and others.

“Willie has declared and so have my Māori caucus members that they continue to have confidence in me to do the job that I was elected to do,” she said.

“You know, I’ve got a lot of work to do here on behalf of the people of Ikaroa-Rāwhiti.”

“I’m very humbled by the support of the Māori caucus and those that have sent support but I’m here to do a job.”

“As I travel throughout the electorate we’re having meetings and I will tell them when I see them face-to-face my plans going forward.”

Whaitiri says she is determined to earn the Prime Minister’s trust back, and work hard for her electorate, after her sacking as a minister. Source: 1 NEWS

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Fair Go: Relief at last for Taranaki woman who went two years without a flushing toilet or sewage system

Around 18 months ago Waitara woman Vicki Gundensen came to Fair Go with a unique problem.

"Yeah I had no toilet or sewage," she says as she showed us around her section. Vicki has a kitchen, living area, bedroom - everything a house needs apart from a bathroom, toilet and shower.

Vicki purchased the section two years ago. She put her life savings, $80,000, into it and checked with a number of people about whether the sewage was hooked up.

"Between the neighbour behind me, the real estate (agent), the previous owner and the photo I got from the [New Plymouth District] Council, I really did think the sewage was here."

The Council photo showed the pipe going into her house. Then when she went to dig for it she couldn’t find it.

"This is really frustrating. I've been digging all day," she said.

"I rang that fella at Council and he said it's definitely there. It was there in 2010."

She was puzzled.

"Maybe someone's pinched it," she says with a laugh.

"Then [the Council] rang me up and say oh really sorry; sometimes people make a mistake. That was their answer; they had made a mistake."

Vicki Gundensen’s sewage connection didn’t exist. The Council’s David Langford says the map has a disclaimer accepting no responsibility for its accuracy because it’s based on historic information.

"We encourage people to get a LIM report. The reasons for that is LIM reports are prepared with a higher degree of accuracy."

Following her appearance on Fair Go, Vicki received a phone call from the Council and ultimately a visit from some contractors.

"The very next day the Council rang me and had people coming around to get quotes to put the sewage on."

So Vicki went shopping.

"I went out and bought a toilet."

The Council paid for her sewage connection. The first flush was ceremonial.

"Oh it was exciting and we all stood around. My sister in Australia wanted to hear it flush so I flushed it for her."

Vicki wanted to thank the New Plymouth District Council. She tells us from her loo, she loves her throne so much she keeps the door open.

"It’s a loo with a view," she says with a wide grin.

Around 18 months ago a Waitara woman came to Fair Go with a unique problem. Source: Fair Go

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Sanitarium loses court battle over Weetabix import

Sanitarium has lost its case against a British goods importer for selling a product with a similar name to Weetbix.

Sanitarium is trying to block the importation of Weetabix.
Source: 1 NEWS

The cereal giant took Christchurch store A Little Bit of Britain to the High Court over its British cereal Weetabix, arguing it breached the Fair Trading Act.

Sanitarium claimed customers could be misled into thinking the imported version was in fact its own Weetbix product.

Justice Gendall today released his reserved decision which said there was no chance of customers being misled, given the cereal was only on sale at a British speciality goods store.

However he did find the store had breached the Trade Marks Act and that it would need to cover up the Weetabix brand if it was going to sell the cereal in future.

The judge has asked both sides to make submissions on whether either side should be liable for costs.

Because they breached the Trade Marks Act, the 108 cartons being held by Customs will have to be destroyed.

The judge made the point that the cereal was already past its use-by date and would not be able to be sold anyway.

RNZ has approached Sanitarium and the owner of the A Little Bit of Britain store for comment.

- www.rnz.co.nz


PM has baby Neve sit in on UN meeting, Clarke Gayford shares story of awkward encounter with Japanese delegation

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's baby daughter has made a splash at the United Nations, sitting in on a meeting with her mother.

Ms Ardern is among world leaders at the UN General Assembly in New York this week and has had daughter Neve, born in June, in tow.

While the prime minister spoke at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit on Tuesday (AEST), Neve got a front-row seat on father Clarke Gayford's lap, catching the eye of cameras. She earlier watched proceedings with her mum.

Having become the second woman to give birth in elected office - and the first to take maternity leave - earlier this year, 38-year-old Ms Ardern has drawn the attention of global media during the visit.

The Prime Minister is attending the United Nations General Assembly, and took her family along today. Source: 1 NEWS

It marks the first time a female leader has brought an infant along to a general assembly meeting.

Ms Ardern also spoke about motherhood during the first of her scheduled high-profile US television appearances, on the Today Show .

"You don't know until you are there of course, but it's met my expectations, the joy though has far surpassed my expectations," she said.

However, she joked that taking a three-month-old on the 17-hour flight to New York felt about "on-par" with the pressure of running a country.

"There's that look you get when you walk onto a plane with a little one, that stare you get from other passengers ... I did actually apologise in advance."

Meanwhile, Mr Gayford - now a full-time dad travelling with the prime minister - on social media posted photos of a mock ID card that had been made up for Neve by staff at the UN, listing her title as "first baby" of New Zealand.

He also had a story to tell about Neve's first diplomatic incident.

"I wish I could have captured the startled look on a Japanese delegation inside UN yesterday, who walked into a meeting room in the middle of a nappy change," he said.

"Great yarn for her 21st [birthday]."

There was a very public appearance for the Prime Minister’s baby in New York. Source: Reuters


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