Flights to Vanuatu

Whale Oil blogs on the McCully air force plane to Vanuatu:

I thought I was defi­nately onto a bash­ing of immense pro­por­tions here. But as I learned from a cou­ple of screw up over the past few years, fact check­ing is paramount.

I checked inter­na­tional flights into and out of Van­u­atu. This is where the story started to come un-raveled. The tim­ing of the meet­ing meant that inter­na­tional flights didn’t pro­vide use­ful con­nec­tions. I think from mem­ory that if they had used com­mer­cial flights then all the Pacific diplo­mats in atten­dence would ahve had to have stayed over 3 more days before the next com­mer­cial flight out from Vanuatu.

Although the RNZAF Boe­ing may have gone over next to empty and con­fig­ured for VIP travel at short notice, how­ever it returned with a greater num­ber of pax on the return leg to New Zealand (I didn’t receive any pas­sen­ger details, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to find out who has used the ser­vice after the fact if one was that inquis­i­tive), one can only spec­u­late at to who they may be, but as even politi­cians don’t repli­cate that fast it seems log­i­cal that for­eign dig­ni­taries were using the ser­vice and New Zealand as a trans­port hub, which is hardly unheard of, and hardly the travel rort which the first leg made it appear.

Whale has shown no hestitation putting the boot into National MPs over perks, when he thinks it is justified. In fact i doubt any blogger has been as consistent as he has, in attacking MP spending. So when he says this is no big issue, I tend to believe him.

I had a similiar issue to McCully when I was in Noumea. The lack of commercial flights meant I had to stay for six days, for a two day conference. I’m pretty sure Murray would have been happy to holiday in Vanuatu for a few days, but instead he did some diplomacy by transoporting a few of his pacific peers back with him.

I recall Helen Clark got an air force flight back from Australia when there was a problem with Ansett, so this faux outrage at use of air force is fairly tiresome.

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