Shane Jones found himself in hot water recently when it was alleged his comments at a forestry awards ceremony were tantamount to "buying votes" and "bribery".
Today on The Country, the Minister of Forestry told Jamie Mackay that the allegations were "spurious National Party rubbish". Jones also defended the Government's Essential Freshwater package, and had some stern words for "shrill" climate change scientists.
Mackay: Always enjoy chatting to this gentleman on The Country, his name is Shane Jones, Minister for forestry and regional development and Shane - what else?
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Jones: Yeah I've got a few junior roles, transport, infrastructure, well infrastructure is not junior, but SOEs and finance.
Mackay: Well you've got a lot on your plate. What about Minister of buying votes at forestry awards?
Jones: More of this spurious National Party rubbish. When people invite me to events they know that they're going to get full noise - a retail politician.
Purely I remind everyone, where I go I live and breathe by the coalition agreement and we deliver our commitments via the coalition agreement and I'm not going to ever desist from reminding people how much of a delivery agent I am.
Mackay: Hey Shane it seems to me that for you and your leader Winston, your default position on everything that's a problem is it's the National Party's fault.
Jones: Well I think in relation to the allegations from the Whangarei Forestry Awards, number one I've dug into who the people are that have anonymously complained to the media.
A number of them work for foreign-owned forestry companies. I don't think it's right that Kiwis employed by foreign-owned forestry companies should be tossing around in the media allegations of bribery.
You don't bribe anyone in front of 550 people, the majority of whom came up and thoroughly enjoyed my whole night with them, and heaps of them have actually been in contact with me since that event, thanking for me sticking up for them.
Mackay: Yeah but politicians have been buying votes since Adam and Eve first went to the ballot box. There's nothing unusual in that, nothing to be ashamed of, every one else is doing it.
Jones: This is what I can't understand. You stand up and you give a robust speech - there was a little bit of a wrinkle - someone was complaining that I took a chap along with me that wasn't invited - in actual fact, anyone who came with me was absolutely invited.
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The difficulty with that individual in the minds of foreign-employed forestry managers is that he was an undertaker.
It's just as well I had him there, he wasn't a forestry guy - sounds as if I almost gave them a heart attack.
Mackay: Shane it was nice of you to turn up to some forestry awards in Northland, your home patch - why didn't you and Winston turn up to the water meeting there last week? You left old Damien O'Connor to hold the baby - threw him under the bus.
Jones: I actually attended the meeting on Friday that was in Kaitaia. I was happy to be joined by the president of our Federated Farmers in Northland, a chap I've got a great deal of time for.
I was always going to get to one of those two meetings. For me the more problematic area is ensuring that these water policies do not open up the Pandora's box of Māori ownership claims to water, which is why I went to the meeting in Kaitaia to share with people - get practical, do not chase this fish tale that somehow this government is going to enable the hapū to claim and enjoy ownership of water.
That's never, ever going to happen for as long as my leader and I hold any status in the Government.
Mackay: I'm pleased to hear that because when it comes to water quality, we're all in the same waka, we all want to get to the same end point, it's just how we get there, the length of time to get there and the process we use. I'm still hoping that you and your glorious leader will ride into town on your high horses and go into bat for provincial New Zealand. You are the Prince of the Provinces, the champion of the regions. Can you tell New Zealand farmers you've go their back?
Jones: Look absolutely. This is always a consultation exercise. Now, the level of noise and bellicosity coming from some of the farming advocates is disappointing but predictable, but it is a consultation process. Then there is the summation of submissions and then the government finalises what it's going to do.
It seems to me there are some areas of inflammation in terms of the phosphorus and whatnot and access to water for future conversion and over what period of time does the reset take place.
So I would say to everyone, it is a consultation process, we certainly have attracted the attention, if not the ire of the farmers but at the end of the day common sense will prevail.
Mackay: Well I hope so. Does David Parker know the meaning of the word consultation?
Jones: Well the most important thing about the term consultation is that it was uttered by my leader Winston Peters and he has mandated Mark Patterson to remind everyone in Parliament - this is a consultation document - it is important that we put the hard issues on the table and then we reach a conclusion after we have studied all of the submissions. That's how consultations are meant to work mate.
Mackay: Let's just finish on one quickly - is there too much scaremongering out there at the moment over climate change, especially climate change emergencies and crises?
Jones: I'm a great believer that human beings will adapt to the changing climate. I have zero tolerance for the shrillness coming from much of the scientific community.
The more the scientists try to intimidate and try to cause fear in the minds of politicians, then the greater they lose their relevance.
I would rather that the scientists not only stuck to the facts, but stopped the shrillness, stopped all the apocryphal language and if you really want to play in the game of politicising climate change come to parliament.
Other than that - bugger off and find a cure to cancer.