Is Andrea Vance miffed she wasn’t invited on the helicopter?

Andrea Vance has her knickers in a bunch over the use of a helicopter by Nick Smith to take some of?the family members of Pike River victims to…and here’s the kicker…places that can only be reached by…yes your guessed…helicopter.

No-one is objecting to the source of funds.

Bernie Monk not only says its ok, he says it?s necessary

Andrea Vance needs to report what the news is, not what she would rather it was.

Cabinet minister Nick Smith has chartered another helicopter for television cameras – this time using tax-payer cash set aside for the families of the Pike River victims.

Last year Smith used $6344 of Department of Conservation money to send up a chopper for a photo opportunity with ministers Peter Dunne and Te Ururoa Flavell.

Today he was back on the West Coast for a press conference about the future of the Pike River mine site.

Families of the victims want a walking track and visitor centre to mark the place where 29 men died in 2010. ?

Smith’s office chartered the flight to take families’ spokesman Bernie Monk and media over the proposed site after the briefing.

They were also accompanied by Department of Conservation staff. A spokeswoman for Smith could not provide details of the cost, but said it would come from “funds set aside by the Government to support the Pike River families.”

“It was also the first opportunity for Mr Monk, the families’ representative, to land at the site of the mine vent, which is the closest place to where the families’ loved ones lie,” she said.

Media would not be expected to contribute, she added.

Monk said considerable amounts of the fund have already been “wasted” and was not concerned about the cost. About six journalists and cameramen joined the flight, he said.

“We had maps and worked out areas, and stopped in a couple of the places…it had to be done because he [Smith] has got to go to Cabinet and say whether this proposal is worth it. He’s got to put facts and figures in front of them.

“The people have got to watch what they got on [the television news] tonight, the stunning view, the terrain, the thing we are trying to get in as part of the walk. [They] have to be seen by every New Zealander.”

Once again we have a journalist…and I use the term loosely…being the news rather than reporting it.


– Fairfax