Ardern says Jones was loose and wrong, but Jones unrepentant

Shane Jones made controversial comments on Newshub in the weekend that have been labeled racist – see Shane Jones accused of stoking racism and embarrassing Peters.

Both his leader Winston Peters and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern were out of the country then. Yesterday back in New Zealand Ardern said that Jones was loose with his words and wrong.

RNZ: PM Jacinda Ardern publicly reprimands Shane Jones over Indian immigrant remarks:

Over the weekend, Jones told the Newshub Nation he wanted a “maximum population”, and New Zealand needed to think about the kind of country we wanted.

“If you want another million, two million, three million people, we should debate it and there should be a mandate, rather than opening up the options, unfettered, and everyone comes here from New Delhi.

“I don’t like that idea at all. I think the number of students that have come from India have ruined many of those institutions,” he told Newshub Nation.

Ardern said…

…Jones was not in the Cabinet meeting today, but she planned to have a strong word with him.

“On many occasions I’ve witnessed Minister Jones be both loose with his language and also be wrong, and on this occasion he was both”.

“I take that very seriously, which is why I’m very, very clear I totally disagree with Shane Jones, I will be telling him that, and I will also be asking him to reconsider the way he talks about these issues in the future because I do not believe it is good for New Zealand”.

Ardern said while she had been advised the comments did not have any impact on the trip or New Zealand’s relationship with India, it went beyond that, because it affected our local community.

Advised by Peters? Or by David Parker, who really fudged around questioning on RNZ.

Jones’ outburst came as Trade Minister David Parker and Foreign Minister Winston Peters – Jones’ boss – were in India discussing ways to strengthen ties.

This morning Parker dodged questions from Morning Report’s Susie Fergusson about whether Jones’ comments were unhelpful.

“I’d make the point that when you’re having a debate about population you’ve got to be careful about language,” he said.

Parker refused to say whether the comments were racist or dog-whistle politics.

“I actually get on with Shane Jones well and when I think he’s gone too far I tell him privately,” he said.

However, he would not say if this was such an occasion.

Simon Bridges criticisms are likely to be largely lost in a long list of whinges.

Waitakere Indian Association President Sunil Kaushal said Jones’ comments were racist and Ardern needed to ensure this sentiment didn’t keep being repeated.

“This is a three-strikes-out kind of a thing, you know, she needs to really have a chat with her Cabinet and the leader of Shane Jones’ party that his behaviour is unacceptable in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, diversity inclusive New Zealand. This is not who we are,” he said.

Jones acts like an unrestrained loose cannon. In January: Demands Shane Jones apologise over ‘sexist’ Pania Newton comments. I don’t remember seeing any retraction or apology after that.

Stuff reports that Jones is unrepentant, suggesting that he was mandated by NZ First to “continually” speak about a “maximum population policy” the party intends to bring to the public in the election year – Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Shane Jones was ‘loose’ and ‘wrong’.

But Jones… quickly turned the reprimand into an opportunity to electioneer.

When the Prime Minister speaks, on behalf of the Government, she is never wrong. But my remarks need to be seen through the prism of an MP on an election year,” he told Stuff.

“I’ll take it on the chin.”

Jones said the NZ First caucus had mandated him to “continually” speak about a “maximum population policy” the party intends to bring to the public in the election year.

The details of such any such policy were left vague. Jones said the public needed to discuss what the right mix of character, skills or talent migrants should bring to New Zealand, and how many should come.

He said claims his stance on immigration was racist, or that he was inelegantly discussing the matter was “a perception that I now have to manage”.

It seems to be a perception he has deliberately put out in the public.

And it appears that once again Jones couldn’t give a stuff about ‘stern’ reprimands from the Prime Minister. Being a responsible minister this term seems less important to him than trying to return to Parliament next term.

Another headline this morning to the same article on Jones attack on Indians: ‘This is not who we are’ – PM repudiates Jones’ remarks – but blatantly sexist and racist seems very much who Jones is.

It looks like he, and presumably Peters, are hoping there are enough racists and sexists who don’t feel betrayed by NZ First support of a Labour-led government will vote for NZ First to rescue them from political oblivion.

The problem with alienating various groups is it reduces the pool of voters who may vote for you.

Leave a comment


  1. To pre-empt a predictable line of response to this, Jacinda Ardern’s comments indicate she has accepted Prime Ministerial responsibility for Jones’ comments.

  2. artcroft

     /  3rd March 2020

    According to the Herald headline “Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yet again pulls NZ First Minister Shane Jones into line”

    So I guess we won’t be hearing anymore unwise words from Shane again.

    • According to Jones yet again he couldn’t give a stuff about Ardern posturing in public but doing nothing.

      • artcroft

         /  3rd March 2020

        Same as Scott Morrison then. Who actually listens to her?

        • Duker

           /  3rd March 2020

          Did you say the same thing about Keys Grand plan for a Kermadec fish sanctuary, announced at the UN no less. Came to nothing as even though Greens loved it and would hyave passed with their votes , the Maori party and ACT didnt like what they heard

  3. Duker

     /  3rd March 2020

    Here is Jones rebuttal…not something that would appear in “wokeroom”

    “I speak on behalf of New Zealand First, in an MMP environment, in an election year, and I derive much of my information from the Indian community itself, who are horrified by these perilously high rates of migrant inner-community abuse,” he said.
    “He stood by his comments, saying he wanted to highlight both the fraud in the education system and the exploitation of students.
    I think thats not something that is in dispute and is fact

    “I challenge anyone in New Zealand to disagree with me in terms of the sad regularity with which we are seeing egregious cases of abuse, in the media, coming from the Indian migrant community upon their own. In fact, they’re appearing in courts with more regularity than the Mongrel Mob.”

  4. David

     /  3rd March 2020

    Strikes me as a set up and an election strategy, same as the Scomo outburst.

  5. Given it was in a scheduled interview what Jones said was very likely to be planned and deliberate. Reelection seems to have taken priority over the Trade and Foreign ministry trip to India.

    • Duker

       /  3rd March 2020

      Perhaps the Indian government might have been concerned about the exploitation in NZ of Indian students and how our government is handling the fraud involving student applications.

      Wondering where the ‘disruption’ to the 2 Ministers tour of India you spoke about was headlined in India …or was that another beatup soley in NZ

      • David

         /  3rd March 2020

        Who do you think is perpetrating the fraud and fully involved with the fake application process. Then when they get here are fully involved with breaching our employment laws as they try and get citizenship.
        The students are donkey deep with the fraud. Just because you want something knowingly breaking the law to get it is not justified in any way in a decent society.

        • Duker

           /  3rd March 2020

          We have two examples recently about Jones:
          First of all he was supposed to have ‘disrupted’ the Foreign and Trade ministers visits to India last week . No evidence is offered that people IN INDIA are even aware of who Jones is and what said. It was manufactured outrage which failed an elementary truth test. A classic beat up
          Same goes for the Indian students situation , the reality is exploitation often by their own community when here and the an avalanche of dodgy applications for tertiary institutions who just want bums on seats and pay for recruiters in India.

          We saw again yesterday reported here , the So called questions about Kiwisaver and Fossil Fuel producers. Did any of the Kiwisaver providers provide a basis for questions to be asked or have complaints that a policy is announced well ahead of time? None at all . The main category of fossil fuel producer is self explanatory for
          serious investors. Again another beat up
          The real question is of course is that its nonsensical virtue signalling but thats a question that ‘cant be asked’

  6. duperez

     /  3rd March 2020

    I’ll say it again. Jones is playing the Trump card. Some people want loud, arrogant and ignorant.

    The problem with alienating various groups indeed is that it reduces the pool of voters who may vote for you. I reckon Jones has considered whether alienating some voters is fine if that is counterbalanced by support coming from others.

    It could be that Jones is despised by many who in his attitude to immigration, would be in the same street as him. He is saying what they think.

    The likelihood of significant electoral impact? There’ll be those who’d never vote for him even if he says what they think (and may be too scared to say out loud.) There’ll be those turned off by his style. There’ll be those turned off by his content.

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