22 Feb 2015

Peters calls for Brownlee to pay inquiry cost

3:56 pm on 22 February 2015

The New Zealand First Party says the former Minister of Transport and current Leader of the House of Parliament Gerry Brownlee should pay the cost of an inquiry into aviation security.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters giving his opening speech for 2015.

Winston Peters Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The inquiry was ordered by the Civil Aviation Authority after Mr Brownlee avoided a security check at Christchurch Airport while rushing to catch a plane, and ducked through a side door instead.

He was issued an infringement notice and fined $2000 for breaching civil aviation rules.

New Zealand First then sought details under the Official Information Act about how much the inquiry cost.

The party was told the price tag was $43,550 - about half of which was payable to the barrister Mary Scholtens who led the investigation.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said there was no reason why the tax payer should have to fork out this sort of money and Mr Brownlee should pay it himself.

"I would have thought that he'd be contributing to such an inquiry, after all he caused it, he's a senior Cabinet Minister and now he's Minister of Defence so how about a bit of accountability and responsibility here."

Mr Peters said this was a security breach and Mr Brownlee should take security seriously.

Gerry Brownlee, speaking in Parliament

Gerry Brownlee, speaking in Parliament Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mr Brownlee made no comment on Mr Peters' remarks.

After the report came out, Mr Brownlee offered his resignation as Minister, but this was not accepted by his leader John Key.

At the time, the Minister paid the fine and co-operated with the inquiry.

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