Resignation rejected

By: Amie Hickland

The resignation of the New Zealand Transport Minister has not been accepted by the Prime Minister

New Zealand Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee will hand over part of his portfolio following a security breach at Christchurch Airport this week.

Brownlee was running late for a plane on Thursday when he breached airport and airline security rules "without thought" by entering the gate lounge through a door usually used for exit only, according to a statement.

He subsequently offered his resignation to Prime Minister John Key which was not accepted.

Instead, he will hand over the civil aviation part of his portfolio while the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) investigates the incident.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister confirms Brownlee’s resignation was not accepted.

"He has reflected on the significant contribution Minister Brownlee has made over time and decided on balance, not to accept his resignation," they say.

"Following that, Minister Brownlee wrote to the Prime Minister to advise he thought it appropriate to transfer responsibility for the Civil Aviation Authority to Associate Minister of Transport Minister Woodhouse, until the investigation has been concluded.

"The Prime Minister has agreed to this as the appropriate course of action."

Brownlee says running late for a plane is no excuse for bypassing a security check.

"In doing this I have broken aviation rules and put individuals who hold responsible positions in upholding public security in a compromised position," he says.

"My actions were thoughtless and I unreservedly apologise to those people who felt and were compromised by my actions.

"No one else is to blame."

The security breach at the airport comes as the world sees its third major aviation disaster in a week.

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