Property magnate Sir Bob Jones was ejected from an Air New Zealand flight after refusing to take instructions from cabin crew, according to Businessdesk news wire.
The 75-year-old Hutt Valley resident had boarded flight NZ421 from Auckland to Wellington when cabin staff attempted to instruct him in his duties as an emergency exit row passenger, where he was seated in row 12, in a window seat.
Jones kept reading when the staff member sought to deliver him and other passengers a routine safety briefing.
Told he could be moved to another seat if he was unable or unwilling to assist in an emergency, he refused to be moved and asked to be left alone, according to passengers in the same row, who witnessed the incident.
Two Civil Aviation Authority staff were summoned to the plane to escort Jones.
The flight was delayed some 20 minutes, prompting an apology from the flight's captain, who said "no matter who you are", passengers had to obey CAA regulations, which included paying attention to safety briefings.
Jones, an iconoclastic newspaper columnist, with a penchant for thumbing his nose at authority and any and all manifestations of the "nanny state", owns a suite of commercial and industrial properties in New Zealand and Australia, which the Robt Jones Holdings website says is valued at more than $1.5 billion
The former politician, sometime author and boxing enthusiast is fabled for striking a TV journalist who tracked him down to a remote fishing spot after the 1984 general election, attempting to evict the Fijian High Commission from his buildings during one of the Pacific nation's coups, and launching baroque legal actions involving traffic offences and former employees.
A spokeswoman for Air New Zealand confirmed that Aviation Security was called to flight NZ421 this morning prior to departure to assist with a passenger who refused to follow crew instructions.
"The captain requested that Aviation Security remove the passenger from the flight, in line with Civil Aviation requirements," she said.
The incident follows a situation on board a Jet Star flight to Christchurch last week, where a man was evicted from the flight for unruly behaviour.
The man was delayed from flying with Jet Star or Qantas for 24 hours but was not arrested.