Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says the media owes him an apology as his "gut instinct" about outgoing Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon was right.
Jones suggested to media this afternoon that it was clear that Luxon was weighing up becoming a National Party MP.
This comes after Luxon – who yesterday announced he was stepping down as Air NZ's boss – would not rule out a move into politics.
"Politics is something I am interested in," he told Newstalk ZB this morning.
Asked whether his political party of choice would be National, Luxon said: "Yes I think it probably would be".
National leader Simon Bridges said last night he had not yet spoken to Luxon "but we are always looking for talented people."
Before going into the House today, Jones labelled Luxon a "National Party surrogate" and said he was the first to out him as such last year.
At the time, Jones was highly critical of Air NZ for cutting some of its regional flights and told Luxon to butt out of politics.
"Do not poke your nose into the political boxing ring unless you're going to resign today and join the ranks of the National Party," Jones told RNZ.
"The media owes me an apology," he told reporters today. "My gut instinct was right well over a year ago.
"I said, if you want to come into politics, own up and put a pair of boxing gloves on coloured blue.
[Luxon] denied it, now obviously he's preparing to do it."
Jones is still critical of Luxon and said that he had disembowelled the regions.
Asked if he would be a good National MP, he said first, Luxon would have to "get rid" of Simon Bridges.
"Then he will have to conquer Judith Collins, and that is no small task."
Jones said that in a professional capacity, he never found Luxon to be rude or impolite.
"It's just that he has a different ideological conviction to me and now he is openly my political opponent."
Jones' boss, NZ First Leader Winston Peters, was also critical of Luxon.
He said he hasn't had much to do with Luxon and had no advice for him if he did tip his toe in politics.
"But it's not a vote of confidence in the present leadership of the National Party, is it?"