What on earth was Chippy going to do to trump all that?
Why, take two planes, d’uh! But wait, here’s the Herald running the spin for the PM:
The Prime Minister’s office has defended sending a backup Defence Force plane for Chris Hipkins’ trip to China after criticism from National and Act over emissions – the latter also calling the fleet “decrepit” – saying it was warranted in case of a breakdown and only travelled as far as the Philippines.
Hipkins touched down in Beijing in the early hours of this morning, beginning a highly-anticipated week-long tour of China, which includes a meeting with President Xi Jinping.
The Herald, which is travelling with the delegation, reported today there were two NZ Defence Force Boeing 757 planes on the runway during a stopover in Manila, Philippines, en route to China.
National Party leader Christopher Luxon said Hipkins should not have taken two planes and, along with Act, criticised what he saw as an unnecessary burning of fuel and associated carbon dioxide emissions. Act leader David Seymour said it was emblematic of an “embarrassing” and “out-of-date” air fleet.
“New Zealand’s embarrassingly ancient Defence Force planes are so decrepit that the PM has to bring a spare in case one of them breaks down on a stopover,” Seymour said.
“The emissions created by taking the extra plane is the equivalent of driving a Ford Ranger the distance of a trip to the moon three times.”
The Herald can confirm these calculations and also that they were based on a return trip to Manila and Australia.
Somewhat, surprisingly, the Herald didn’t answer their headline in the article with ‘because he has taken leave of his senses and thinks that pissing off the NZ public is a vote-winning strategy’.
Surely flying commercial would have been far cheaper than the huge costs associated with two B-757s and their poor fuel economy.
What genius in the PM’s department thought that this was ever going to fly?
Nothing says ‘I’m out of touch’ like taking two very expensive jets just in case one breaks down.
Nothing says our air force is rubbish like having to have back-up planes flying halfway around the world to deliver Chris Hipkins to an insult by the Chinese at the airport, where he was met by a low ranking official, not the Foreign Minister or even the Prime Minister. If MFaT protocol staff weren’t whispering in Hipkins’s ear about that slap in the face then they weren’t doing their job.
Hipkins, for his part, has just slapped the long-suffering taxpayer in the face by arrogantly taking two jets instead of flying commercial.
Cam Slater is a New Zealand-based blogger, best known for his role in Dirty Politics and publishing the Whale Oil Beef Hooked blog, which operated from 2005 until it closed in 2019. This article was first published HERE