Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says the NSW government has capitulated to a "ferocious campaign" from the media after his appointment to a clean energy board was overturned.
Last week, NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean had backed Mr Turnbull to lead the Net Zero Emissions and Clean Economy board, adding he was a great friend.
This morning, however, Mr Kean released a statement saying Mr Turnbull could "distract" from the board's goal of creating jobs in low carbon industries and reducing state emissions while growing the economy.
"The focus should not be on personality," Mr Kean said.
"Malcolm Turnbull AC has contributed much to our country and I know will contribute more into the future.
"However, no person's role on the Board should distract from achieving results for the NSW people."
Before his appointment, Mr Turnbull had written a letter objecting to the expansion of a coal mine in the Mount Pleasant area, in the Hunter Valley, citing concerns for his nearby grazing property.
The former prime minister said he spoke with Mr Kean yesterday about the decision.
"Mr Kean said to me there was no conflict of interest between anything I have said or anything Lucy (Turnbull) has said or what we have written about coal mining in the Hunter," Mr Turnbull told ABC Radio Sydney.
"The net zero board has nothing to do with coal mining approvals for a start. But he said he does not want personalities to be a distraction."
Mr Turnbull, who has been a fierce critic of News Corp, said the government had caved to pressure from the Murdoch press reversing his appointment.
"There was a pretty ferocious campaign, a vendetta, really, in the characteristic way that News Corp operates," Mr Turnbull said.
"Its goal was to bully the state government into not appointing me chair of this net zero board."