NZ First MP Shane Jones has stomped with his clod hoppers where he has no business to be again:
Regional Development Minister Shane Jones has climbed into the leadership of dairy giant Fonterra, calling for chairman John Wilson to follow chief executive Theo Spierings out the door.
Jones said he told the company it should stop being political and instead focus on its business.
Says the Minister who uses personal attacks instead of polite discourse and ought to be focusing on politics not meddling in business.
“They should focus less on interfering in politics and more on justifying the money they’ve lost overseas. I believe that they have become disconnected from the farming community.”
Jones said he had suggested to Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor whether it was time to restructure the dairy co-op, and singled out Wilson for special mention.
Doesn’t he know that the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA), under which Fonterra was created, is under review already?
The leadership of Fonterra, I believe, starting with the chairman, is full of its own importance and has become disconnected.”
He said there was an absolute absence of accountability for the “enormous amounts of dough” that the current chairman had presided over.
This sounds very like a minister full of his own importance presiding over a billion dollar slush fund with little accountability.
“The CEO has gone, well that’s only one party of the double-Dutch we’ve had to put up with in Fonterra over the last nine years. I thoroughly believe this … that as the CEO leaves Fonterra, the chairman should in quick order catch the next cab out of town.
Double-Dutch? Is this a xenophobic reference to the retiring CEO Theo Spierings and past chair Sir Henry van der Heyden who stepped down nearly a decade ago?
“I’ve been bloody disappointed that Fonterra, in my view, the leadership has not accepted that there’s a new Government and there is a new narrative and I’ve had a gutsful of them believing they are bigger then what they really are.” . .
Believing they’re bigger than they are? That’s rich coming from the party with far more power – and voter money – than its voter support at the election entitle it to.
This sort of tirade does nothing to reassure businesses which are already very wary of the policies and directions of the government.:
The time has come for the Prime Minister to step in and discipline her Regional Economic Development Minister who repeatedly seeks publicity by attacking business leaders, National’s Regional Economic Development spokesperson Paul Goldsmith said today.
“Business confidence in New Zealand is plummeting and the reasons for that are mounting.
“The Government’s low growth policies like higher taxes and stronger unions are causing businesses to hire fewer people and invest less in growth and it has them concerned about the future of New Zealand and who can blame them?
“Because on top of that you have a loudmouth Regional Economic Development Minister who’s putting his own ego and need for publicity ahead of the interests of New Zealand.
“Shane Jones’ attacks on Fonterra’s leadership are the latest burp from a man who is fast losing any respect he once had.
“He says Fonterra’s leadership is ‘full of their own importance’. That sounds like a more apt description of himself.
“He even added he’s ‘worried about the absolute absence of accountability for the enormous amounts of dough that the current Fonterrra chairman has presided over’.
“This is startling hypocrisy from the same man who defended his own region getting the lion’s share of funding from his billion-dollar Provincial Growth Fund by stating ‘to the winner goes the booty’.
“Well it’s not his booty and it’s clear Shane Jones has no idea what accountability means.
“This Government has decided to spend $3 billion over the next three years on regional economic development, including roundabouts and church restorations. It’s critical the responsible is up to the job and focused on doing his job well.
“At the moment, all he seems good for is attacking business leaders whenever a few days have gone by without some of the media coverage for which he craves.
A friend who was at the KPMG breakfast at which Jones launched his tirade said it was entirely inappropriate, and a very poor reflection on the MP and the government.
Fonterra is a co-operative. The performance of the company and its chair are the business of its shareholders not an MP.
There is some dissatisfaction and there are concerns but this season’s milk price is the third highest since the company was formed.
Shareholders could well be more concerned about the MP who has no business interfering in their business than the chair’s performance.
So Jones’s loose lips could well strengthen the position of Wilson who is up for re-election this year.