Christopher Luxon does 'policy doughnut' on climate action, call for National leader to apologise for principals comment

The Education Minister has called on National leader Christopher Luxon to apologise to principals for pointing the finger at them for the truancy crisis. 

Luxon's digging in, but he's pulled an almighty U-turn on a climate policy.

Laser focussed on his issue of the day, Luxon took aim on AM on Wednesday morning. His target was the truancy crisis, but principals became the point of impact.

"Absymal levels of attendance at our school… We need to make sure that we've actually got leadership in schools that is actually very much focussed on getting kids into school," Luxon said.

"There is a mixed standard of leadership across our schools and across our principals that actually means they're not focussing as strongly on getting kids to school as they can."

Hora Hora School principal Pat Newman - a former Labour candidate - is unimpressed.

"Very, very disappointed in Mr Luxon," said Newman. 

Education Minister Chris Hipkins also wasn't impressed. 

"I think those people who get outta bed every morning and go and flog their guts out to provide our kids the best education possible really don't deserve those sorts of, you know, cheap shots from politicians," he said. 

He believes an apology is in order. 

"Principals up and down the country actually might feel aggrieved and I think an apology wouldn't go amiss," Hipkins said. 

Luxon wouldn't apologise on Wednesday afternoon. 

But he did try to clean up a clean car mess he also made on AM.

"We would keep the Clean Car Discount and make sure we have low-emissions cars coming in," Luxon said.

That's a big old U-turn. National has been very, very opposed to the Clean Car Discount scheme - or what they call the 'ute tax'. 

But Luxon is walking that back. 

"I misspoke this morning. What I meant was we're gonna keep the Clean Car Standard," he said. 

However, National's supposed to be opposed to that too. Now the party is saying it'll have a standard - just a different one to the Government. 

"U-turn on a U-turn on a U-turn," said acting Prime Minister Grant Robertson. "The first politician to complete a policy doughnut in history."

Luxon claimed he "totally" understood his party's climate policy.

But a lesson for Luxon - do your own homework before you go criticising principals for not getting kids to do theirs.