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.

Trans Tasman sexism and racism

Apparently there have been quite a few claims online that the Trans Tasman MP ratings are sexist and racist.

Here’s an example:

Wow. Looking at those ridiculous Transtasman MP ratings and they sure are racist. All the low performers are the non white MPs.

The MP of the year happened to be female, but perhaps Amy Adams doesn’t have Samoan, Ngai Tahu, Indian and Dalmation grandparents.

If someone thinks that women, or Maori MPs, are performing poorly should they not say anything about it?

Stuff listed a few more ratings in The best and worst of New Zealand politics: National, Labour and the rest, and that includes:

National’s bottom five: 

Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi: 2/10

“All he’ll be remembered for is the Indian students and faulty fridges disaster. Maybe it’s better he doesn’t say anything, just works away in committees and asks the odd patsy.”

Todd Barclay: 2/10

“Electorate office problems were hushed up. Given a hurry up, and now represents local Queenstown issues more effectively.”

Nuk Korako: 2/10

“What was he thinking with his ridiculous airport lost property bill? Didn’t seem to realise what was actually in it, caucus should have shot it down.” 

Melissa Lee: 2/10

“Part of National’s ethnic diversity who showed promise to begin with, but that was 2008 and it’s all gone now. Past her use-by date.”

Jono Naylor: 2/10

“Calling it quits after one term, so what got into him? No-one has bothered finding out.”

That looks quite multi-cultural and only one woman.

Labour’s bottom five: 

Nanaia Mahuta: 2/10

“There because of who she is, not what she does, which isn’t much. When she does react, it’s usually too little and much too late.”

Rino Tirikatene: 2/10

“Another disappointing year. No cut through on fisheries, arguments lack focus.”

Meka Whaitiri: 2/10

“Many outside of Parliament have never heard of her. Needs to change this, or she’ll be forgotten inside Parliament as well”. 

Ruth Dyson: 3/10

“Still lurching along, she’s rejuvenation material but doesn’t look like going. Labour won’t pick a fight over it. Good debater, competent chair of Government Administration Select Committee.”

Iain Lees-Galloway: 3/10

“One of the boys who makes the noise, not all of it worth much but he didn’t miss many opportunities. Strong debater, although he descends into diatribes.”

There’s a bit of a mix there, but 3/5 Maori and 3/5 women. Are any of those ratings unjustified? Have any of those MPs impressed?

Perhaps this is what peeved some Greens:

Green Party co-leader James Shaw: 6/10

“The smart half of the co-leadership. Shaw has the rare talent of thinking before he opens his mouth. Comfortable with the media across a broad spectrum of issues.” 

The Metiria fan club won’t have liked that. Two MPs can co-lead, but you can’t make them drink the same Kool-Aid.