Outspoken NZ First MP and Minister Shane Jones has launched a scathing attack on climate-change activists who want Kiwis to eat less meat, blasting their form of "eco bible bashing".
He has compared them to "medieval torture chamber workers" and has vowed to rally against this sort of "absolutism" as Election 2020 draws closer.
His comments come after the Government, of which he is a Minister, announced school children would be taught about climate change in class.
• Revealed: NZ's new climate change commissioners
• 'Completely pointless': Sean Plunket slams Jimmy Neesham over climate change comments
• 'We need to do more': New Zealand falling short on international climate change greenhouse gas commitments
• One billion at risk: How climate change is transforming our oceans and mountains
Education Minister Chris Hipkins said kids will be taught the role that science plays in understanding climate change, as well as how it impacts the planet both globally and locally.
They would also be taught how to contribute to reducing and adapting to its impact on everyday life.
Climate Change Minister, Green MP James Shaw, said one of the ways kids could help reduce emissions was to eat less meat.
Speaking to Radio Waatea today, Jones rejected this advice as "absolutism" – but did not mention Shaw's comments.
In a statement to the Herald, Shaw said: "The climate change resource kit for schools is based on science".
Jones was critical of what he described as the "absolutism" which he said was "infecting" the climate-change debate in New Zealand.
"Absolutism is what you hear from bible bashers," he said.
"Absolutism is what we saw in the medieval days of putting people on the rack because there was an absolute sense of conviction that their perspective was the only perspective."
Jones added that New Zealand First has a tremendous level of interest in how our society adapts to changing weather and changing climate.
"But our party is deeply suspicious of any scientist who starts preaching this gospel of absolutism – we don't like that and we're not going to acquiesce in that.
"If you stand up for industry, that doesn't mean that you are denying the existence of changing climate and changing weather."
He said some of the activists were like the "medieval torture chamber workers [who] don't want you to talk about adaptation.
"They want you to join their shrill voices."
And Jones said he has no plans to stop eating meat.
"I won't be desisting from eating copious qualities of kaimoana [seafood] or meat – that's how I grew up."