Watch: 'I made a mistake' - Transport Minister Phil Twyford offers to resign for making phone call from plane, says National's Judith Collins raised issue in House

Transport Minister Phil Twyford has offered to resign for making a phone call on a domestic flight after the aircraft doors had shut in preparation for take-off.

Mr Twyford issued a statement today, saying he offered his resignation over the matter but the Prime Minister declined his offer.

As Transport Minister, Mr Twyford should have known better than to make a call after the plane's doors had shut. Source: 1 NEWS

"I recognise that I made the call when I shouldn’t have," Phil Twyford said. "This is inappropriate for anyone, but particularly inappropriate for me as Transport Minister.

"I apologise unreservedly.

"I have apologised to the Prime Minister and offered my resignation as Transport Minister. She has declined my offer but chosen to transfer my responsibility for the Civil Aviation Authority to Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter.

"I have referred the matter to the Civil Aviation Authority who will follow whatever processes they deem appropriate," Phil Twyford said.

Speaking to media at Parliament Mr Twyford revealed that it was National MP Judith Collins who brought the issue before the House and he hadn't given it a moment's thought before she brought it up.

He again gave an unreserved apology while fronting media saying he "made a mistake" and his actions were "unacceptable".

Mr Twyford also revealed the call was made to a staffer and was around one minute long. He didn't reveal the details of the call and why it was so important to make at the time.

The Director of Civil Aviation has received details of the alleged breach and says CAA will examine the facts before deciding what to do next. 

National MP Judith Collins was the one to bring the infringement to Parliament's attention Mr Twyford said. Source: 1 NEWS



Auckland motorway crash delays motorists heading to Auckland Airport to catch flights

Motorists bound for Auckland Airport are being delayed by a crash blocking the two right lanes of the south-western motorway, State Highway 20.

The crash scene is just before the Neilson St off-ramp and NZTA says to avoid the area if possible or expect delays.

The agency is telling motorists to consider exiting at Hillsborough Rd, and using the southbound Neilson St on-ramp. 

Auckland airport has also shared this, meaning it's likely to make people late for the airport.

Traffic delayed by crash on Auckland's South Western Motorway. Source: Keith Macfarlane

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'These actions were despicable' - Fijian woman sentenced for NZ visa fraud after husband made up story that family had been massacred

A Fijian woman has been sentenced to nine months home detention and 120 hours community work for visa fraud, in a case linked to her husband who obtained residence after falsely claiming his family had been massacred.

Aneela Wati was sentenced in the Tauranga District Court today after earlier pleading guilty to a charge under the Immigration Act of knowingly producing a visa that had been obtained fraudulently. 

Wati’s husband, Satya Nand, was sentenced earlier this year to 29 months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to a representative charge under the Crimes Act of using false documentation to obtain a benefit. 

Nand managed to obtain New Zealand residence then citizenship by creating a new identity and making up a story that he arrived in New Zealand as a stowaway after his entire family was killed by a group of Bangladeshi.

He obtained identity documents in his false name and used documentation to obtain benefits for himself, his wife and their children.

Once Nand had obtained residence and citizenship, Wati obtained a residence visa for her and three of their children by remarrying Nand and pretending that she didn’t know him previously. 

In 2004 when Wati arrived at Auckland International Airport, she presented her resident visa to gain entry despite knowing the document, and her children’s visas, had been obtained fraudulently. 

In this way she supported her husband’s offending by maintaining his false identity to obtain visas for herself and the children to enter New Zealand, Immigration New Zealand said.  

Immigration NZ Assistant General Manager, Peter Devoy, says the fraudulent behaviour demonstrated by the couple will not be tolerated.

“The family had an elaborate story about Nand’s fabricated refugee past and his dream of living in New Zealand. These actions were despicable, especially considering the suffering many genuine refugees experience,” Mr Devoy said.

“As with all visa applications, the responsibility is on the applicant to ensure they provide genuine and accurate information as part of their visa application. The officers involved in this case worked diligently to identify the fraud that led to this case coming to court," he said.

Our Political Editor analyses the big changes to immigration that will see new wage threshold requirements introduced.
Source: 1 NEWS