Yesterday at the 50 Shades of Green protest march, New Zealand First Minister Shane Jones labelled farmers gathered on Parliament's lawn "rednecks" and responded to their booing with a waiata. Today The Country's Jamie Mackay attempted to get an apology from Jones, as well as a discussion on whether forestry is a threat to pastoral farming.
Mackay: "I'm mātua Shane Jones. If you're going to shout over me, you're never, ever going to win". Those were the words that came from Shane Jones yesterday at the 50 Shade of Green protest rally in Wellington and then the gloves came off. Shane Jones I assume you want to come on the show today to apologise to the farmers - or as you call them "the rednecks of New Zealand".
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Well things got a bit heated yesterday, it was vitriolic but look, I don't believe that the vast majority of the farmers were represented yesterday by that group. I did think a lot of folk in the group yesterday - while the genuine farmers were at home milking the cows - they were down there to milk the bull.
But I accept that it was an unintelligent remark and I do not believe that the vast majority of our farmers belong to "ngati-redneck".
But I want our farming audience to know that their second cousins came to Parliament, and I won't mention a particular sign, but it was disgusting and it was designed to undermine all of the parties that comprise the coalition Government. So in a burst of irrationality, I told them what I thought of that sign and the mentality that spawns that type of behaviour.
Mackay: Two wrongs don't make a right. Why did you burst into song Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi in response to their speeches which you said were too long and boring. I spoke to a couple of the protesters yesterday and I read their speeches before they delivered them and I thought they were very well compiled.
Jones: No I knew after Damien O'Connor's speech - and Todd Muller went on and on but of course it was basically a love-in amongst a lot of people in the crowd towards the National Party - but Damien O'Connor was howled down and both of their speeches went on longer than I would have.
One of the traditions of the marae is you capture the attention of your audience, either by quoting genealogy, proverbs or singing a song.
Mackay: Todd Muller described you as a schoolyard bully - he's not a mile away is he Shane? You like throwing your weight around, there's a bit of it there.
Jones: Why has Todd Muller not condemned the behaviour of elements of the crowd and the disgusting nature of their signs? Why has he not done that?
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Mackay: Well I saw some of the signs and probably they weren't appropriate.
Jones: I don't want to lower the tone. You can go on Facebook and Twitter and see them.
Mackay: Yeah but can you understand the frustration of these farmers? They're seeing their communities decimated almost by forestry.
Jones: Well in the Wairoa area essentially what I'm being asked to do is to agree that sheep and beef farms should permanently stay where they are and that you should require a resource consent in the future to change from sheep and beef.
So I just think that's an unwise level of fettering property rights. Land use and land owners have always had the flexibility to change the purpose for which they own and use land to chase better returns.
Now, I don't think it's fair to blame the current Government or me for the loss of population in upper Hawke's Bay. But I accept that there's a lot of anxiety around the transition but I'd say to you mate, that the more temperate souls out in the hinterland - this transition was happening before our Government came into being.
Mackay: Yeah but you've accelerated it. Do you think that ... the farmers are facing a level playing field here? Baring in mind you've put an incentive in for overseas owners to come in and invest in forestry in this country and they're basically farming carbon credits.
So the incentives that are in the Overseas Investment Office deliberately exclude carbon forestry investors.
Mackay: Hasn't stopped foreign investment.
Jones: The foreign investment in the forestry sector is already 74-75 per cent. All we've done is simplified the process.
Before our Government changed the overseas investment regime, forestry rights, which is basically taking a forestry lease over land, weren't even in the Overseas Investment Act.
So perversely enough what we've done is increase the level of surveillance in terms of the OIO officials studying what's happening with forestry. Until we bought forestry leases and forestry rights into the overseas regime - people could come and do what they liked and no one would ever know.
Mackay: Have you spoken to your leader Winston Peters about your behaviour yesterday? You're making a play for provincial New Zealand's votes. You are of course the Prince of the Provinces. You might have lost a few votes yesterday Shane.
Jones: ... of course I will go to my caucus and I'll apologise for any hurt or ill will I might have created. And people notice that I wear my mistakes on my chin.
But look, the people that turned up yesterday are not an accurate reflection of the farming leaders and the folk that we work with. They were very vitriolic, they were there for a stoush.
I was told that my waiata did cause the dogs to howl, but I think people largely treat it in the vein that I offered it back to the people that were attacking us.
I would say however, that there is a future blending farming and forestry and we've obviously got to work a bit more closer with the landowners to find out OK, what can we do with the current trees that are shelter belts, riparian planting.
But rightly or wrongly mate, when I saw the level of provocation and vitriol in those signs I thought right, they're not having a free hit.
Mackay: OK Shane. You know how these interviews play out. Now we wrap it up with you falling on your sword and apologising to the farmers of New Zealand for calling them rednecks and we all go home happy.
Jones: Yeah, nah, nah, no look - for anyone out in the farming community I accept that that was excessive language. I don't mean you any ill will. It was a rare burst of irrationality and mātua Shane Jones will learn from these injudicious remarks in the future.
Mackay: A rare burst of what?
Mackay: Oh my goodness. They're becoming more and more frequent, but Shane Jones, you're always appreciated, or your time is always appreciated on this show. Thank you very much.
Jones: (Hangs up)