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More than 50 ferry passengers heading home for the night were taken off-course for a special pickup for Labour MP Chris Carter, who had taken the wrong ferry earlier in the evening.
A Waiheke ferry left Auckland at 10.15pm last night and took a short detour to Devonport, where Mr Carter was waiting for a ride.
Some ferries to Waiheke stop off at Devonport during the day, but after 4pm they normally go straight to Waiheke.
Mr Carter also had the option of returning to Auckland and catching the next ferry, at 11.45pm.
But the 10.15pm ferry and its passengers were diverted, and Mr Carter was spared the extra 90-minute trip.
Ferry company Fullers said it had not given special treatment to Mr Carter and he said he had not asked for it.
He had got on to the only ferry waiting at pier three, where the Waiheke ferry left from. But it had set off 10 minutes before he expected.
So he spoke to the ferry master and found out he had got on the wrong ferry. The ferry master recognised Mr Carter from his time as Conservation Minister in Helen Clark's Government.
The ferry master offered to get the next Waiheke ferry to come pick Mr Carter up - a common practice, Mr Carter said he had been told.
He had asked ferry staff to not call for a pick up, fearing it would blow up into a story, Mr Carter said.
But they had been too friendly, he said.
"I did everything I could to avoid it, but the lovely people on the ferry had it all organised."
When the Waiheke ferry arrived, he got on board to find former National Party president Michelle Boag, who recognised him immediately.
They sat together and had a chat and Ms Boag's friend even drove him to his bach in Palm Beach, Mr Carter said.
But the next morning, a prominent right-leaning blogger was posting outrage online, saying Mr Carter had put his convenience ahead of the public's.
Ms Boag, however, agreed with Mr Carter that the ferry company had done no special favours.
"I would absolutely confirm that's what [Fullers, the ferry company] is like. If it was me or anyone else they would have done the same thing," she said.
Ms Boag has had a special rescue in the past herself. In 2006, when she was chairwoman of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Foundation, she was on her way to Auckland Airport for an international flight when she realised she had left her passport at home in Waiheke. She paid $5000 for a Westpac rescue helicopter to fly to her home, collect the passport and bring it to her.
Last year, Mr Carter was in the media spotlight for spending $82,410 - the most among non-Ministers - for travel expenses for him and his partner.
Fullers operations manager Ian Greenslade said the decision had been made without knowledge of Mr Carter's identity and a diversion, while rare, had been made for other passengers in the past.
There had been 54 passengers on board the diverted ferry, which was delayed by 2-1/2 minutes by picking up Mr Carter, Mr Greenslade said.