CANBERRA, AAP – Scott Morrison has rejected suggestions Barnaby Joyce is a nuisance, describing the returned Nationals leader in glowing terms.

“I describe him as a wind in the sails,” the prime minister told the Nine Network on Thursday.

“I was treasurer when he was deputy prime minister, Barnaby and I have sat around cabinet tables for years, and we’re both passionate about what we want to achieve for this country.”

Mr Joyce has already made waves after seizing the leadership in a partyroom ballot, with the Nationals now casting doubt on climate targets and threatening to blow up the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

The prime minister was challenged on whether the wind Mr Joyce created could prove perilous for the government.

“This is going to get us where we need to go as a country,” Mr Morrison said.

“You’ll see.”