Cabinet Minister Shane Jones has apologised - for a second time - for calling farmers a bunch of bleaters.
In a radio interview last week Mr Jones accused farmers of "bitching and moaning" but later said he didn't mean all farmers.
He told a Dairy NZ conference in Whangarei yesterday his comments were aimed at the leadership of Federated Farmers.
Mr Jones said he was disappointed the Feds gave no credit to New Zealand First leader Winston Peters for his pragmatic approach to carbon policy and a capital gains tax.
"But look, I accept a lot of men and women are under a lot of pressure in farming; there's a lot of changes, there's a lot of debt in the sector and the last thing they want to hear from the provincial champion is dissing them as belly-achers."
He said he felt a second mea culpa was in order when he spotted one of his farmer cousins in the audience at the Whangarei event.
Several speakers thanked him for the apology.