Radio NZ reports:
Yesterday on Morning Report Mr Jones criticised Stuff journalist Hamish Rutherford who had covered the original story, calling him a “bunny boiler” – a reference from the film Fatal Attraction meaning someone who acts vengefully after being spurned.
Jacinda Ardern told Morning Report it would not be appropriate for Mr Jones to launch an attack on Rutherford.
Not appropriate? Is that it? Imagine if a National Minister had called a journalist a “bunny boiler”. You’d have an Action Station petition. The Media Freedom Committee would be issuing statements of outrage.
She said she spoke to Mr Jones yesterday, and it would be up to him and the Speaker of the House to decide whether his answers to Parliamentary questions on meetings he has attended need correcting.
In an answer to a Parliamentary question in April 2018, Mr Jones said he had had no formal meetings about the project since becoming a minister.
His answer was clearly incorrect. Some people might expect a Prime Minister to tell a Minister to correct the record, rather than leave it up to him.
Ms Ardern was asked how Mr Jones’ situation was different from former government minister Clare Curran, who was demoted and subsequently quit her ministerial portfolios after failing to disclose separate meetings with then RNZ head of news Carol Hirschfeld and tech entrepreneur Derek Handley.
The answer is that Ardern can’t sack Jones unless Peters agrees and hence NZ First Ministers have a lesser standard of conduct.