Shane Jones says he had "no difficulty whatsoever" deciding to come to an invitation-only dinner attended by Barack Obama despite having slammed Air New Zealand, who sponsored the event, in the days leading up to the event.
Speaking to the Herald outside the event, the Regional Economic Development Minister said having Obama in the country was like having "the giant come to the village".
His grievances with Air New Zealand were very much "live issues", he said, however he would address these at a later date.
"It would be undignified to embroil the former US President in that political jabber.
"Air New Zealand as a host has some very serious issues to address, but tonight is not the night."
Jones said primarily, he wanted to see Air New Zealand change the "cavalier" way they did business in the provinces.
Jones courted fresh controversy by claiming earlier today Air New Zealand boss Christopher Luxon wants to be a National MP.
All "political squabbles" aside, Jones said he was looking forward to the event.
He was particularly looking forward to hearing Obama speak, he said.
If he were to have the opportunity to speak to Obama personally, Jones said he would express nothing but "good will and openness".
"I would want to ensure that he's spoken to our Maori people – I think it would have been fantastic if they could have taken him to Waitangi.
"When the Treaty was signed there were people representing America."