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Former minister Maggie Barry's alleged abuse of Air NZ crew member detailed in police notes

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 26 Feb 2024, 4:01PM
Maggie Barry has denied any abuse aboard an Air New Zealand flight in January. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Maggie Barry has denied any abuse aboard an Air New Zealand flight in January. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Former minister Maggie Barry's alleged abuse of Air NZ crew member detailed in police notes

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 26 Feb 2024, 4:01PM

Former politician Maggie Barry allegedly abused an Air New Zealand cabin crew member and another passenger, refused to follow instructions, and then kicked up a fuss when confronted about it.

Handwritten notes from a police sergeant’s notebook released under the Official Information Act detail the situation and Barry’s alleged behaviour on January 5.

Barry, a National Party MP from 2011 to 2020, was embroiled in bullying claims from staff in three government departments stemming from her time as a minister. The former garden show host was twice investigated in 2018 for alleged bullying.

When Barry took a flight this year, police had to intervene and board the plane.

At the time, Barry denied abusing the Air New Zealand staff member and said there had been a “misunderstanding” about the phone she was wearing on a lanyard around her neck.

Barry claimed her phone was mistaken for a bag that needed to be stored. After a “minor disagreement”, she removed the phone and put it in the seat pocket, she said.

Maggie Barry has denied any abuse aboard an Air New Zealand flight in January. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Maggie Barry has denied any abuse aboard an Air New Zealand flight in January. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The sergeant’s notes alleged Barry responded to someone pulling her up on her behaviour by saying, ‘f*** this’.

“Captain advised the best course of action was to make an announcement across the PA saying there had been some aggressive behaviour and everyone is to be aware they must follow instructions of the crew,” the notes read.

“Spoke to the captain who spoke to team leader, advises pax [passenger] was abusive to other pax and her. Wouldn’t comply with the instructions of the crew.”

The captain asked the cabin crew whether they wanted the passenger off the plane. She was allowed to stay, but the woman next to her asked to be moved as she thought Barry was being rude.

The notes showed the flight was delayed by at least half an hour, with the flight supposed to take off at 12.35pm but held up until police left at 12.58pm.

Barry, speaking to Stuff earlier, said: “The pilot and policewoman were very calm and professional in our brief chat in the cockpit and asked me if I was prepared to obey crew instructions. I responded, ‘Absolutely’, and reassured them that I always have and always will follow crew instructions as I had already on that flight.”

She admitted to a minor misunderstanding but said she did not become abusive to anyone at any point.

“I saw no ‘abuse’ on the flight and certainly there was none from myself to any cabin crew or passengers,” she said.

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