Thursday, October 29, 2009


I'm all for egalitarianism, but Colin Espiner has a point about the lack of Prime Ministerial autonomy of flight. David Lewis at Pundit chips in with the circuitous horror story that Helen Clark went through whilst travelling at the time of the September 11 attacks.

I'm not saying that all non-urgent domestic travel by the prime minister should be sealed and bubble-wrapped from the general public. But when the head of our isolated island republic has to rely on commercial international airlines to get them to their destinations, it leaves the country worse off.

When the PM hits the tarmac on our behalf, I want him refreshed, alert and looking after our best interests. These interests are not well served by having a jet-lagged PM cluttered with anonymous strangers and evesdropped by who knows what on a general flight.

The only drawback of a MOA (Ministerial Office Aircraft) is that if the PM gets use of one, you might have Deputy PM Bill English asking for a MOA too. Then Phil Goff will want one, then Chris Carter. So if NZ does end up getting some independent flight plans for the PM, there will have to be very clear guidelines on what it is used for.