10 May 2011

PM questioned over helicopter ride

4:30 pm on 10 May 2011

The Prime Minister says he decided to reimburse the owners of a helicopter for a ride within 48 hours of making the journey.

John Key had been opening a Waikato walkway when he accepted a ride back to Auckland in a helicopter owned by Peter and Philip Vela in December 2009.

Mr Key then gained retrospective approval to reimburse the Vela brothers $2000 for the ride.

The Labour Party says Mr Key paid for the ride to avoid it appearing as a gift on the register of pecuniary interests.

On Tuesday, Mr Key told Parliament he needed to return to Auckland in time to attend security-related meetings.

However, he refused to say whether he would have made the meetings if he travelled by car.