Air NZ flying Coalition troops up to the warzone

Air New Zealand has this morning confirmed an Investigate magazine report that its planes have been flying US and Australian combat troops across the Pacific and up to the Iraqi border.
Investigate magazine is reporting in its latest issue, out tomorrow, a number of major allegations against the airline made by its staff, among them claims that the airline has been flying secret missions for the American and Australian military.
According to one staff member, one of the flights up to the Iraqi border recently was escorted in by fighter jets. Investigate understood the airline had chosen to provide troop transport facilities to the Coalition military forces because of the lucrative fees involved.
Now the airline has confirmed this, and confirmed Helen Clark’s government was advised, as a courtesy, in advance of the troop flights.
“In answer to your specific questions,” says an airline spokeswoman, “Air New Zealand entered into these commercial contracts after a competitive tender process making use of spare aircraft capacity. No authorisation was sought or required from either MFAT or Civil Aviation. Air New Zealand did as a courtesy however advise Government Officials that these flights were being undertaken.”
Full details of this and the rest of the allegations are in the latest Investigate magazine, but the confirmation now turns the spotlight on how much the Government knew about its state-owned airline carrying combat troops for the Iraqi war effort, especially after last week’s attacks on National leader John Key for his position on Iraq.