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Last Updated: Friday, 12 November, 2004, 12:49 GMT
NZ police charged over PM's dash
Five police officers have been charged with dangerous driving after racing to get New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark to a rugby match.

A government chauffeur also faces charges for the dash. The motorcade took just 96 minutes to make the 206km (129 mile) journey.

The incident was investigated after members of the public complained.

Ms Clark was criticised at the time for the race, but responded that she had no control over transport arrangements.

The six men are due to appear in court on 14 December. Assistant Commissioner Peter Marshall said the five officers could be sacked if found guilty.

They had been trying to get Ms Clark to Wellington in time to watch New Zealand's national rugby team, the All Blacks, defeat the Australian Wallabies in July.

She had been attending a civic birthday celebration in the town of Waimate, on South Island, and had been due to catch a flight from nearby Timaru to Wellington in time for the evening test match.

But the flight was cancelled, and her party decided to race for Christchurch Airport, from where she flew to Wellington.

The speed limit in New Zealand is 100kph (62mph) on open roads and 50kph (31mph) in towns.

Waimate Mayor David Owen said at the time that the three-car entourage left "like a bat out of hell".




SEE ALSO:
NZ PM's dash for match probed
21 Jul 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Helen Clark
10 Jul 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: New Zealand
08 Jul 03 |  Country profiles
New Zealand premier 'faked' painting
15 Apr 02 |  Asia-Pacific
NZ premier denies royal snub
23 Feb 02 |  South Asia


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