Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Christchurch Airport security officer who allowed him to board a plane without being screened is 'a hell of a good guy'.
Mr Brownlee said he had talked to the man many times, but denied he was a friend.
Mr Brownlee said he and two of his staffers were running late for a flight on Thursday and were let through an exit-only door by an airport staff member, rather than through security.
The incident is being investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Mr Brownlee told TVNZ he didn't want any blame put on the security officer, whose job it was to be helpful to people.
He said he put the security officer in a difficult position.
Mr Brownlee said he couldn't explain why he didn't think through what he was doing.
Mr Brownlee earlier said he offered his resignation as minister because he had put Air New Zealand staff and Christchurch Airport in a difficult position, and he is the minister responsible for aviation safety. Prime Minister John Key has refused to accept his resignation.