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Gerry Brownlee and Airport security

Written By: - Date published: 12:16 pm, November 18th, 2014 - 11 comments
Categories: Gerry Brownlee, national, phil twyford, Politics, same old national - Tags:

In an incredibly unfortunate example of timing John Key announced yesterday that the report on Gerry Brownlee’s Airport Security difficulties would be announced today.  It is bad timing because the news will be drowned out by other news of another significant event that occurs today and during a week when Parliament is not sitting.  It is as if the Government wants to minimise media treatment of the issue.

Key confirmed the report would be released and that he knew of its contents.

The result which was announced this morning is puzzling.  Brownlee has been fined $2,000 and his staff issued warning letters.  But the CAA report is being withheld despite Key’s assertion and a previous comment by the CAA that it would be published.  This is disappointing because there is an issue about what he said to the staff member who let him through the security door.

Brownlee remains Minister of Defence, in charge of the Canterbury Rebuild and in charge of the EQC.  Apart from being slightly poorer and somewhat embarrassed he has not suffered from this event.

But the public has a legitimate expectation of understanding what happened.  Public scrutiny of our elected representatives is important.  In the absence of publication of the report we can only guess what happened.

Jono Nautsch has suggested that Brownlee may have been hard done by in that the offence that he was charged with contained a defence if Brownlee entered the area with a boarding pass and with the intent of catching a flight and he may be right.  On the face of it Brownlee has a defence to the offence that he has been charged with.

On the other hand if he was told by a CAA Official to leave the area then he may have committed an offence against section 54 of the Civil Aviation Act 1990.  The penalties for this offence include theoretically a jail sentence.

This is why publication of the report is so important, so that the public can know what happened and be assured that the law has been applied fairly and fearlessly.

I cannot think of any security reason for the report not being published.  It would only describe areas visible to people embarking or leaving aircraft.

I posted earlier suggesting that Labour should ignore the issue and concentrate on other issues such as climate change and child poverty.  At the time in the middle of an election campaign I thought that the focus should go onto significant issues.  For now though interests of transparency require full disclosure of the CAA report.

Phil Twyford has called for the release of the report.  In a statement quoted in the Stuff article he said:

Mr Brownlee made a tonne of excuses at the time, most of them hard to believe. The only way the truth will come out is if the report is released. Either Gerry Brownlee should publically ask CAA to release it or the new Minister of Transport should order the Authority to do so.”

I agree.




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11 comments on “Gerry Brownlee and Airport security ”

  1. Tom Gould 1

    What is it with these Tories and secrecy? Unless it is us they are spying on, of course.

  2. Bill 2

    Airport security only applies to balloons over a given size.

  3. Sable 3

    Probably found the fine down the back of his couch…..

    • McFlock 3.1

      The way this government is going, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was in a brown paper envelope

  4. Ffloyd 4

    GB said ‘he just wasn’t thinking’ First time he’s told the truth. Does he pay penalty rates for excess weight? Talking about luggage of course.

  5. ghostwhowalksnz 5

    Interesting that Key has allowed Brownlee to ‘get away with it’

    Wasnt sacked at the time like Williamson was for his indiscretion.

    Life carries on in the new Cabinet, unlike for Mrs Wong Ton of ST Heliers.

    Obviously it good have friends like Bill English protecting you to the hilt. The Catholic Mafia rides to the rescue again as it did for Nick Smith

    • Tracey 5.1

      Gerry not only knows where the bodies are buried, he may have personally swallowed some of them.

  6. Tracey 6

    gerry cracked a joke and then failed abysmally to pretend it wasnt a joking matter…

  7. Areobubble 7

    So if a airport staffer was using a door, and Brownlee just happened to be running for the plane, and took the shortcut, how is that wrong. That’s a problem of not double security doors surely, trapping those attempting to bypass security. The problem for those attacking Brownlee is anyone in a rush would make improvised decisions. If anything this was a health and safety issue, Brownlee was obviously working too hard and wasn’t managing his time properly.

    If you are going to have a go at him, then remember it was he that introduced the precinct term to planning in NZ.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 7.1

      The facts dont agree with AB, Gerry hammered on a locked door, a airport employee heard the noise and opened it from the other side.

      Brownlee and entourage swept past without any reason although some say “dont you know who I am’ was uttered and he was gone.

      Health and safety is absurd, everyday airports have people who havent managed their time. It happens.

      And the reason why he was in trouble wasnt so much he took a shorter way but he bypassed security entirely, too many ordinary people blocking his way.! After all its Christchurch, his home town, he took a deliberate decision to break the law in a security conscious building he knows very well.

      • Areobubble 7.1.1

        I agree that’s one side of the story. Yet still the point needs making. Why could a system of security be breached so simply. Double doors would stop con artists using their considerable skills to game a system. Brownlee hacking such airport security should he a wakeup call to security industry globally. We should be understanding, then making our security Brownlee proof, then exporting the technology overseas damnit.

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