The Herald reports:
Two parliamentary aides who were with Mr Brownlee at the time were given formal warnings.
The Civil Aviation Authority launched an inquiry following an incident at Christchurch Airport before the election, when the then Transport Minister and two of his staff deliberately bypassed airport security in order to catch a flight.
Civil Aviation Authority director Graeme Harris said today: “The subjects of this investigation are now fully aware of the importance of abiding by airport security rules, and the consequences of breaching these. ]
“The publicity surrounding the incident should also act as a warning to the travelling public that any airport security breaches are taken very seriously by the CAA.”
This is a good outcome. It shows that Ministers are not above the law.
If there had been no penalty for the incident, there would be potential ongoing resentment over the perception that Ministers can bypass security checks. But a fairly significant fine will satisfy most people that this is not the case.
Having been fined, it would not probably be tenable for Brownlee to have continued as Transport Minister. But as this portfolio went to Bridges after the election anyway, the issue is
not now at an end I’d say.