The Civil Aviation Authority's report into former Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee's security breach at Christchurch Airport contradicts the version of events he provided to reporters at the time.

Following the July breach, Mr Brownlee claimed he was given permission by an airport staff member manning a secure exit door to bypass security.

"My words were: 'We're in a hurry to get on the plane. Can we shoot through here?' In the end he let us through, but it was all my fault, no one else's."

However, a heavily redacted CAA report released to media shows the staff member did not give permission for Mr Brownlee and his two aides to bypass security, but was too taken aback to stop them.


The report stated the airport staff member heard knocking at the secure exit door and used his security card to open it so that he may explain to Mr Brownlee and his aides that they were not able to pass through it without first going through security.

However, the report stated that before he had the chance to open the door, it was pulled open by one of Mr Brownlee's aides and the minister and his two staff members walked through.

The airport staff member recollected Mr Brownlee saying words to the effect of "sorry to do this, but we're in a hell of a hurry" before walking off towards the departure gates.

Although the report stated that Mr Brownlee and his aides believed the airport staff member had acquiesced to let them through, that was not the case.

"[The staff member] was so taken aback by what had happened he did not have the opportunity to tell Mr Brownlee and his aides that they were not permitted in that area without first passing through the Avsec (aviation security) security screening point.

"As the trio talked away [he] immediately used his portable radio to contact his supervisor."

An unnamed senior sergeant then boarded the aircraft to speak to the pilot once Mr Brownlee and his two aides were already on board.

He explained to the captain that there was an exemption for security screening, but it did not cover Mr Brownlee, to which the captain replied "I'm sure we can trust the Minister of Transport".


The captain then checked with his supervisor and told the senior sergeant that "he understood there was now a new rule that provided an exemption for ministers and their partners".

Neither the captain nor the senior sergeant were informed that Mr Brownlee's aides had also bypassed security, and the "new rule" was in fact not correct, the report stated.

Following the breach, Mr Brownlee offered to resign, but the offer was not accepted by Mr Key.

At a press conference last month, Mr Brownlee said although he had not seen the CAA's report, he accepted its findings and paid a $2000 fine.

Mr Brownlee said the airport staff member was likely to have known who he was, but he did not attempt to use his ministerial influence to get past security.

"I was just not thinking, to be honest."

The CAA also gave a formal warning to Mr Brownlee's two aides.

The report released today said they were placed "in a position where they felt compelled to follow his instructions as employees, even though they were both aware that they first had to pass through security screening before entering the secure area".

Comment was being sought from Mr Brownlee and airport authorities.