Labour and their faux outrage

Labour are playing out attacks on John Key for using a helicopter to avoid 3 hour traffic jams. Trevor Mallard is playing it up the most and he is being a bit silly.

Kerre Woodham lambasts Labour for their pettiness and rightly so especially over transport arrangements for the Prime Minister. It was while I was researching my previous post that I came across this:

The trans-Tasman anger was enormous. At one stage, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, on her way back to New Zealand from the Middle East, found her aircraft blockaded on the Melbourne airport tarmac by laid-off Ansett workers, who refused to allow the jet to take off. Eventually, an RNZAF Orion maritime reconnaissance aircraft had to be sent to fetch her.

It shows an appalling hypocrisy from Labour when their own leader summonsed a plane across the Tasman to rescue her from picketing Ansett workers. John Key could have probably made 1000 flights between Auckland and Hamilton before he even came close to the cost of a full crew, presumably a back up crew and an Orion and fuel to save a feckless Prime Minister stuck in a picket at Melbourne airport.

If that wasn’t so bad the news reports show an even worse position for Labour and Helen Clark.

A group of Ansett’s aircraft loaders had turned up at Melbourne airport for the early shift, but when they heard the news, they used heavy moving equipment to blockade an Air New Zealand plane in protest.

They didn’t know it but Helen Clark was supposed to be boarding that plane to fly back to New Zealand from a trip to Europe. Instead she was trapped at Melbourne airport for five hours.

In a day of high farce, Victoria police eventually came to the rescue, airlifting Ms Clark from the airport in a helicopter just before lunch.

Using a police helicopter to save yourself from embarrassment. But wait it gets worse:

Helen Clark was flown out in the end on an [RNZAF] Orion – sent over by Acting Prime Minister Jim Anderton. He said he’d acted as a sovereign state to defend our Prime Minister, and accused the Ansett workers of criminal acts. Ms Clark said she was disturbed by Australian Kiwi bashing which she described as absolutely unreasonable.

I’ll tell you what is unreasonable…exactly what Kerre Woodham describes:

A prime minister going by helicopter to an engagement is probably a better option than being in a speeding motorcade and hanging your driver out to dry when you’re found out – as history would note.

Worse when that same Prime Minister who hung out her staff called upon the air force to save her at huge expense in Melbourne. If you are going to point the finger make very sure that your side is squeaky clean before you do.

UPDATE: Of course there was also this incident when Clark wanted to make it to Grey power meeting:

The Prime Minister commandeered an Air Force plane to whisk her to an appointment with Grey Power in Invercargill yesterday.

High winds closed Wellington airport and like hundreds of others, Helen Clark could not get a commercial flight out. Her office made a phone call to Defence Force headquarters, and she was driven up to Ohakea air base where a seven-seater King Air plane was waiting.

She was flown south to keep her appointment – a speech to Grey Power Southland at the Invercargill Workingmen’s Club.

Arriving an hour-an-a-half late, the Prime Minister was warmly received by the 150-strong crowd who had waited patiently.

Not only commandeering a flight but also a massive drive from Wellington to Ohakea, presumably at great speed. Labour really do look silly now.


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  • Doug

    Talk of Labour being hypocrites.
    Helen Clark earlier indicated she would rely on the Air Force to transport her around the country more frequently after the suggestion she get her own personal plane was made in the fallout after her motorcade broke the speed limit to get her to an All Blacks test in 2004.
    The Air Force is funded for 100 hours of King Air VIP flights each year.
    It flew 98 of its allocated hours last year, but had flown less than 30 this year.
    The service is primarily used by the Prime Minister, but it also carries visiting dignitaries, the Governor-General and other Government members. It is not available to Opposition leader John Key.

  • What was worse about the Melbourne incident was the Orion was the only one available for Maritime rescue purposes. If there had been an emergency off the East Coast of New Zealand it would have been an additional 5 or so hours for the Orion to respond from Australia.

    • reid

      I’ve just posted this to Red Alert, let’s see how long it lasts:

      Thanks and hope you don’t mind, Frontrower.

      reid says:
      April 24, 2011 at 2:45 pm
      Is it true that when Anderton as acting PM sent the Orion to Australia to pick up Clark who’d been stranded by Ansett loaders who had blockaded her plane, that Orion was the only one in the country available to perform search and rescue, and that had there been an emergency off the East coast of NZ, it would have taken an additional five hours for it to respond?

      If that Orion was the only one available, was Anderton justified in sending that plane?

      Also, how much did that cost, vs the Iroquois flight from Hamilton to Auckland?

      • grizz

        Would it not have been easier to put her on a qantas plane to NZ instead? Surely the loaders would not have blocked one of their own planes?

  • omnibus6

    Well, even when they scrape the bottom of the barrel, they come up with nothing. That party needs an overhaul, starting with Mallard. He really needs to retire, he’s overexerted himself and now he is as credible as his namesake in the pond.

  • Doug

    Where was the outrage when Clarke used the Air force?

    Editorial: High-flyers’ affliction strikes Prime Minister

    Clark whistles up Air Force taxi

  • thor42

    My advice to the Labour Party –
    Do the Captain Oates self-sacrifice thing.
    Hire a plane to Antarctica, put your togs on, attach a lead weight to your ankles and go for a swim off an ice-floe.

  • jabba

    I think that the Labour Party must hate the Internet and Bloggers .. they simply can’t hide .. same for all of us of course but this helicopter attack by Daffy is yet another example of their hypocrisy. The thing is, many many do actually believe what he says

  • There was also this case in May 2007; the bill for the National MP’s was $360, whilst the Labour MP’s had to big-note at far more cost:

    Spilled coffee has been identified as the cause of the smoke in an Air New Zealand Boeing 737 aircraft that had to be diverted, stranding 122 passengers, including 15 MPs.

    The alternative transport arrangements some MPs made at the taxpayer’s expense has already attracted media attention.

    National MP Judith Collins and three of her caucus colleagues took a $360 taxi ride from Ohakea back to Wellington.

    While the National MPs made off in the taxi, Labour MPs were calling Transport Safety Minister Harry Duynhoven asking him to use his clout to arrange permission for a replacement aircraft to land at Ohakea.

    Whose solution was the more cost-effective?

    • reid

      National MP Judith Collins and three of her cau­cus col­leagues took a $360 taxi ride from Ohakea back to Wellington.

      Why the hell didn’t they take a taxi to Palmy then get a rental?

      • grizz

        I believe this was the last flight out of Wellington for the night. They landed at Ohakea as Palmerston North Airport was closed. I guess they had the option of staying in PN for the night and flying out the next morning. At the time, the local rental car agencies would have been closed so that option may not have been avaliable at the time. One also has to factor in being in a fit state to drive at midnight after working all day. Given the cost of 4 motel rooms at short notice, a taxi fare of $80 per head sounds reasonable.