New Zealand transport minister stripped of aviation safety duty after phone call on plane | News | DW | 24.05.2018
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New Zealand transport minister stripped of aviation safety duty after phone call on plane

Transport Minister Phil Twyford has landed in hot water over a phone call while on board a plane. The move cost him his responsibilities related to the Civil Aviation Authority.

New Zealand Transport Minister Phil Twyford will no longer oversee aviation safety after he broke rules by making a phone call onboard a plane.

Twyford told reporters he had called a staffer on May 17 moments after he boarded the aircraft in capital Wellington.

The doors had been closed and the plane was preparing for takeoff.

"It was a breach of civil aviation rules. That's unacceptable. It's particularly inappropriate for minister of transport to do that," Twford told reporters.

The minister said he apologized to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for his mistake and offered to step down. Ardern declined his offer but stripped him of his responsibilities related to the Civil Aviation Authority.

Ardern said it would be inappropriate for Twyford to remain in charge of the authority if it decided to investigate the incident.

New Zealand Herald newspaper reported that Twyford had referred the matter to the aviation authority.

The newspaper quoted the minister as saying that he had not given the matter a "moment's thought" until Thursday, when he received a written parliamentary question about it from a member of parliament.

The newspaper said it wasn't the first instance of a New Zealand transport minister breaking rules.

A former transport minister was fined $2,000 (€1,200, $1,400) for breaking airport rules when he bypassed security to board a domestic flight in 2014, the newspaper said.

ap/kms (AP)

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