In March Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Shane Jones calling for sacking of a board member was a step too far.
A few months later he can say what he likes:
“He’s shared a personal opinion, it’s not government policy, and that’s the end of the story,” Ms Ardern told Newshub.
That might have been a personal opinion but it was also a political act and it’s not the end of the story.
Jones wasn’t invited to Fieldays as a private citizen or even an MP, he was invited because he’s a Minister and Ministers should not meddle in private businesses.
If he wants to comment on Fonterra and its board he should buy a farm, some cows and shares in the company.
And then he should still refrain from making personal attacks on board members.
But of course he was playing to the gallery.
RIchard Harman at Politik says it was a carefully calculated campaign by NZ FIrst to boost its poll ratings.
But what’s good for the party’s poll ratings is not good behaviour for a minister, good governance nor for the government.
Jones’s comments added fuel to the fire of concern already burning businesses.
They’ve made the Prime Minister look as if she can’t control her cabinet.
And they’ve added to concerns about what might happen when Jones’s leader Winston Peters is acting PM.