Aviation Bill would still allow for armed air marshals

Green Party Human Rights Spokesperson Keith Locke is disappointed that the Aviation Security Bill, as reported back from the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee, would still allow armed air marshals on planes flying in and out of New Zealand.

“Armed air marshals cause more problems than they solve. The Government should not be authorising an armed security officer from a foreign country to discharge a gun in the confined space of a pressurised aircraft cabin that will quite possibly be full of New Zealand citizens,” Mr Locke says.

“It is just too dangerous to use guns on planes. I agree with the airline pilots who told the committee that the way to deal with a security alert is to leave the plane on the ground. If in doubt, don’t fly, should be the motto. The cost of the occasional cancellation is more acceptable than putting the lives of passengers at potential risk.

“This Bill leaves the door open to American Rambo-style policing, which is just not appropriate on our planes.

“The Greens also wish to clarify provisions in the bill allowing the ‘imaging’ of passengers during pre-flight security processing. During the Bill’s committee stages, the Greens will be supporting amendments to prevent the ‘naked’ imaging of passengers, which it was suggested recently might be brought in here,” Mr Locke says.