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

Mount Ruapehu crater death prompts warning

A second death at Mount Ruapehu's crater lake in 12 months has prompted calls for people to take extra care at the top of the mountain.

A man's body was pulled from the lake by members of the group he was with yesterday afternoon.

Another man died at the lake one year ago.

Ruapehu District Mayor Don Cameron said the snow was becoming soft around this time of year, and people needed to be extra vigilant at high altitudes.

"I understand it's a skiier that's fallen in, but also apparently someone climbing also slipped on the ice and lost their ice axe," he said.

Mr Cameron said people venturing near the crater lake should take extra advice before heading up, or stick to well known trails.

Yesterday's death is being referred to the coroner.

An American tourist also died while skiing on Mount Aspiring yesterday.

Police said the 35-year-old man was skiing downhill toward the Bonar Glacier when he fell and died.

Another person they were skiing with attempted first aid but the man died at the scene.

An investigation into his death is now underway.

Good news for skiers and snow boarders as a $10 million grant helps the project get off the ground.
Source: 1 NEWS


Plane substance drop ruled out in mystery school illness

The 10 students from Carterton's South End primary school that were hospitalised due to an unusual smell will be back at school tomorrow.

Police now believe they can rule out initial reports that a plane flying overhead may have dropped a toxic substance on the school. Source: 1 NEWS

Multiple students fell ill on Friday afternoon following reports of an unpleasant smell.

Originally the smell was thought to have come from a plane that flew near the school but police have ruled that out after speaking with the pilot.

South End board of trustees chairman Brian Chin said it will be business as usual tomorrow for everyone at the school, including the children who fell ill.

"All children were discharged on Friday evening. They were sent home with information about what to do if they feel unwell again.

"They have contact numbers on hand if they feel unwell again and at this stage we envisage all those children will be at school again on Monday," Mr Chin said.

Wairarapa Area Commander Inspector Scott Miller said the police were turning their focus to neigbouring properties and the surrounding area to find the source of the smell.

"There will be a couple of people in the [neigbouring] houses that we haven't spoken to and we'll be looking closely at the area to see whether there's anything in our police intelligence systems that may indicate where this smell may have come from."



New charges revealed: Jobseeker with 'Devast8' across his face is back before the courts

A man with 'Devast8' tattooed across his face, who last year opened up about his job struggles as he tried to turn his life around, is back before the courts.

Mark Cropp - also known as 'DEVAST8' due to his distinctive facial tattoo.
Mark Cropp - also known as 'DEVAST8' due to his distinctive facial tattoo. Source: Screenshot/NZ Herald

Mark Cropp, 21, will face two charges of assaulting a female and threatening to kill.

The NZ Herald reports Mr Cropp will face a judge alone trial in November.

Mark Cropp became internationally known last year after he approached the Herald about not being able to get a job because of his inked face.

He said his brother tattooed the nickname 'Devast8' on his face during a heavy night drinking in jail.

On his release from jail, Mr Cropp wanted to get off the employment benefit so he could put food on the table for his family and to do that he needed a job.

But, employers didn’t take him seriously.

"One employment place said to me 'I wouldn't employ you with that on your face, I wouldn't even take a second look at you'," he told the Herald last year.

"I've had other people that just shrugged and laughed at me."

Last year the 21-year-old revealed his regret over the tattoo., saying:  "Once it was started, I thought, I can't go back on it now," he said of the night his brother tattooed the word on his face,

"I wish I had stopped while the outline was there to be quite honest."

Despite the regrets he initially wanted to keep the tattoo and hoped potential employers could look passed it.

However, after his Herald interview the story went viral and he decided to have it removed.

He accepted an offer from Sacred Laser in Kingsland to have it removed for free and he attended one appointment but did not return for further work.

New Zealand Herald

Drink is the drug of choice for baby boomers, new study reveals

Up to 40 per cent of older New Zealanders are engaging in hazardous drinking, a study has found.

Researchers from Massey University and the University of Auckland explored the prevalence of hazardous drinking in 4000 New Zealanders aged 50 years and over.

Hazardous drinking was defined as alcohol consumption that puts the person at risk of immediate harm, such as hospitalisation, or long-term harm such as cancer.

About half of older males and a quarter of older females were hazardous drinkers.

Research co-leader Dr Andy Towers said he wasn't surprised by the results.

"What we know from around the world is that we have a cohort of baby boomers that are drinking much, much more than any previous generation of retirees before.

"Drink is the drug of choice for baby boomers."

While awareness campaigns mainly focus on binge drinking in young people, little is known about harmful alcohol consumption in older adults.

"Our discussions about alcohol use shouldn't just be about binge drinking or whether someone has a problem... hazardous drinking is about how much you're drinking and whether - even it's a low amount - whether it's appropriate if you have medication use and [if] you have certain health conditions."

There are greater risks for older drinkers as their bodies become more sensitive to alcohol, Dr Towers said.

"We're not down to the point where we can provide really nuanced information or guidelines, we just say, in general, if you have this and you have this and you're taking medication, you really shouldn't drink."

The research team is now working with the Health Promotion Agency with the intention of developing a GP alcohol screening tool.

"One of the big problems we have is that a lot of GPs, a lot of practice nurses, feel uncomfortable talking to older adults about alcohol.

"We need to start talking about alcohol use with our parents and our grandparents."

The study reveals that New Zealand youth drinking culture is actually a "New Zealand culture" issue, Mr Towers said.

But advocates say the service will only exacerbate New Zealand's binge-drinking culture.
Source: 1 NEWS