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Alexander: Unwitting Kiwis Travel Con Air

Media Statement
For immediate release
Thursday, 14 August, 2003

Alexander: It's Cyrus the Virus in 4C - unwitting Kiwis travel Con Air

Mad, bad and dangerous criminals are being transported unrestrained on New Zealand commercial flights unbeknown to the travelling public, United Future MP Marc Alexander said in Parliament today.

"And what's more, if a traveller asks the airline if they're carrying any murderers or rapist on their flight that day, they won't be told because of this country's privacy laws," the United Future law and order spokesman said.

"And I am sure the average Kiwi would not like to think that an unrestrained, very possibly, dangerous criminal, with only a single unarmed plain clothes police officer accompanying him, is their travelling companion.

"Now I quite appreciate that prisoners have to be moved around the country at various times, but it is wrong to endanger the travelling public - and even worse to do so with total disregard for their right to, at the very least, make a judgment call as to whether they wish to put themselves in that situation," Mr Alexander said.

Questioning Corrections Minister Paul Swain in Parliament today, Mr Alexander asked how the Government could guarantee the safety of travellers when in May last year a prisoner being transferred overpowered his police escort and had to be subdued by cabin crew and passengers.

"Airlines are carrying dangerous prisoners at a time when law-abiding citizens have troubled getting on board with so much as a pair of nail-clippers," he said.


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