Maverick MP Shane Jones was supposed to go on holiday and read the Cabinet manual - instead he's been firing a semi-automatic firearm banned in New Zealand by his own Government.

A series of photos posted on social media by Jones' wife, Dot Jones, while on holiday in Asia show the Forestry Minister and self-proclaimed Champion of the Regions at a firing range with a semi-automatic rifle last week.

An expert says the firearm appears to be an AR-15 - one of the weapons used by the accused Christchurch mosque gunman and now banned by this Government.

Jones' received a telling off from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern before leaving for holiday about two weeks ago, after reportedly trying to solicit votes for NZ First at the Northland Forestry Awards.

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Asked about the Jones' holiday activity, Ardern said the most important thing was that the NZ First MP supported the Government's gun ban.

Anything that Jones did overseas did not change that, she said.

"Would I have done it? Absolutely not," Ardern said.

Ardern had yet to talk to Jones about it, but likely would when she next saw him.

She would also be asking how he got on reading the Cabinet manual while on holiday.

Jones says his overseas use of a high-powered gun banned in New Zealand was "international research".

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Experts say it appears Jones is holding an AR-15 banned in New Zealand. Photo / Facebook
Experts say it appears Jones is holding an AR-15 banned in New Zealand. Photo / Facebook