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Shane Jones launches blistering attack on Fonterra, economists

Newshub logoNewshub 13/06/2018 Sophie Bateman
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Shane Jones has launched a scathing attack on Fonterra, calling for the company's chairman to step down.

Speaking to media at Parliament on Wednesday, the Regional Development Minister said he'd suggested to the Minister of Agriculture that a "disconnected" Fonterra was overdue for a restructure.

"I've been bloody disappointed that Fonterra, in my view - their leadership have not accepted there's been a new government and there's a new narrative, and I've had a gutful of them believing they're bigger than what their writ really is."

"They should focus less on interfering in politics and more on justifying the money they've lost overseas," he said of the company.

"I believe that they have become disconnected from the farming community."

Mr Jones criticised the company's leadership, and said the resignation of chief executive Theo Spierings in March was a good start but that chairman John Wilson should also "catch the next cab out of town".

"The leadership of Fonterra, I believe, starting with the chairman, is full of their own importance and have become disconnected."

The notoriously effusive minister also had some choice words about economists.

When asked about how the Government's ban on oil and gas drilling might negatively impact the economy, Mr Jones said he didn't put much faith in the predictions of economists.

"Economists are guesstimators, not all economists are good at mathematics and those that tend to show us that statistics can tell you any lie."

He said he didn't buy that economists are "endowed with supernatural powers".

"Economists, in my view, have had their status elevated as high priests of modern political economy. I'd rather listen to ordinary business people, firm owners."

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