NEVER mind the bullocks – new Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones was on a four-week holiday to New Zealand in the midst of the Shambo crisis.
The Plaid Cymru minister also disappointed some farming leaders after only attending one day of the Royal Welsh Show before jetting off.
Ms Jones, one of three Plaid AMs appointed to Rhodri Morgan’s coalition cabinet earlier this month, has gone Down Under for a month for a long-planned family holiday.
But one figure close to the cabinet described the break as “ridiculous” and said Ms Jones, pictured, had “made a bad start to the job”.
The source said: “We know it was booked when she had no idea she would be a minister but to go on holiday during this is ridiculous. It’s the biggest story in Welsh rural affairs since foot and mouth.”
Ms Jones attended the Royal Welsh for five hours on Monday, touring the Welsh Assembly Government pavilion and launching a conservation award.
But Gareth Vaughan, chairman of the Farmers Union of Wales, said she was entitled to “a well-deserved holiday”.
He said: “We would have liked to have more time to chat with her at the show but we’ve got county shows running throughout August and into September and I know there will be opportunities there to meet her.”
A spokesman for the Welsh Assembly Government said: “Elin Jones’ holiday was prearranged long before she was appointed a minister.
“The situation at Skanda Vale is being ably dealt with by Welsh Assembly officials.”