Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has again had to pull NZ First Minister Shane Jones into line, telling media this afternoon comments he made about Indian students were wrong.
"I totally disagree with him," she told her post-Cabinet press conference.
"I will also be asking him to reconsider the way he talks about these issues in the future because I do not believe it is good for New Zealand."
But Jones told the Herald he stood by his comments.
"There is a verse in the Bible, once the spoken word is out – you can't put it back in your gob," he said, paraphrasing.
"She [Ardern] has her role as the leader of the Government; I have my role – in an MMP environment – of championing a population policy."
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On the Nation this weekend, Jones was critical of Indian students and the impact he said they were having on educational institutions across the country.
"I think the number of students that have come from India have ruined many of those institutions."
Jones was not at the weekly Cabinet meeting today for "personal reasons," Ardern said.
But she said she will be confronting him about his comments later in the week.
"On many occasions, I have witnessed Minister Jones be both loose with his language and also be wrong," she said.
"On this occasion, he was both," she said.
Asked if the comments were racist, Ardern said didn't directly answer: "I think they were wrong."
Despite the public reprimand, Ardern pointed out that Jones was not a member of her Labour Party and that from time to time the pair would disagree.
"He needs to be answerable for his own opinions in that regard and they are his own opinions and I'm very clear on that. It's not the opinion of the Government."
Jones said that some of the expressions and the way he conveyed his thoughts resonated deeply with a lot of Kiwis.
"When we [NZ First] go forward with our population policy it's inevitable that things will be said and issues will be raised that are challenging – I thoroughly accept that."
In fact, he doubled down on his comments.
"Every day we read of fresh court cases of awful exploitation within the migrant community."
This was certainly not the first time Ardern has had to publically reprimand Jones.
After photos emerged of him shooting a gun – banned in New Zealand, at a firing range while on holiday overseas – Ardern said it was "absolutely" not something she would have done.
She also said it was his expectation that he read-up on the Cabinet manual after he made controversial comments at a forestry event last year.
After he called protesting farmers taking aim at the Government "rednecks" last year, Ardern said they were not comments she agreed with.
When Jones he said the Indian Community was having a "Bollywood overreaction" over its critisim of visa restrictions, Ardern said she "disagreed" with Jones.
And, in 2018, when Jones called for the sacking of Air New Zealand's Chief Executive, Ardern said that was a "step too far".