Mark v Mitchell: Ministerial helicopter 'Uber service'

Drive 15/03/2018
Image: Simon Wong. Image: Getty

National MP Mark Mitchell says that Defence Minister Ron Mark needs to front up and explain why he has been riding around in an Air Force helicopter to what is allegedly the Minister’s Masterton home.

Information obtained by TVNZ under the Official Information Act shows Air Force NH-90 helicopters and a b200 King Air aircraft being diverted to Mr Mark's hometown on multiple occasions.

Mark Mitchell joined Ryan Bridge and Lisa Owen on Drive.

Mr Mitchell says that Mr Mark has a taxpayer-funded self-drive vehicle and crown limousine service available to him.

“I just can’t see how he can justify using an expensive defence asset like an NH-90 helicopter to ferry around the country.”

When asked what he would do if he were leader Mr Mitchell said he would ask the Minister to resign. 

Defence Minister Ron Mark responds

But Minister Ron Mark refutes these claims saying that the helicopter wasn’t dropping him home but instead on official trips.

Minister Ron Mark joins Ryan Bridge and Lisa Owen on Drive.

Mr Mark said that it wasn’t his office requesting him to be picked up, but instead it was the Air Force’s decision.

“When they and my staff looked at my arrangements…their recommendation on that case was to pop into Masterton, pick me up there”.

Mr Mark said that he's disappointed with Mr Mitchell's comments.

"I thought he was better than that but I guess that's what happens when you go to Opposition and you're a useless Minister of Defence in the first place."

Listen to the full interviews with Mark Mitchell and Ron Mark above

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