Ron Mark refutes claims he made personal use of military aircraft

Defence Minister Ron Mark is refuting accusations he's used air force helicopters and aircraft to get around the country from his home.

Information obtained by TVNZ under the Official Information Act shows Air Force NH-90 helicopters and a b200 King Air aircraft have been diverted to Mr Mark's hometown, Masterton.

NH90 helicopter.
NH90 helicopter. Photo credit: Defence Force.
Beech King Air B200.
Beech King Air B200. Photo credit: Defence Force.

National's Defence spokesman Mark Mitchell says Mr Mark is "using the Air Force as a personal taxi service".

"I want to know why the Minister has either requested this service, or refused to decline it - as he would have known there is no way the flying hours, fuel and cost could be justified."

Mr Mark says he was taking the aircraft on official trips and has declined NZDF offers for transport "on several occasions."

"Each of the flights was taken to an official engagement. For two of the seven commitments I embarked and disembarked in Masterton.  I live in Carterton."

Carterton is a 15-minute drive from Masterton.

He told RNZ he has never been collected from his home - but admitted the craft flew to Masterton to pick him up specifically.

"This is an attack on not just me - the Air Force as well," he said.

But the trips are still being picked apart by Mr Mitchell.

"This is an incredibly inappropriate use of Defence resources, and I am sure the public would be interested to know why the Minister is opting to use already stretched Defence assets rather than the Ministerial Crown Cars that are available to him," he said.

The list of flights, supplied by Ron Mark's office.
The list of flights, supplied by Ron Mark's office. Photo credit: Supplied