RNZAF to rescue Prime Minister
An Air Force Orion has been sent to Australia to airlift Prime Minister Helen Clark to New Zealand after she was stranded at Melbourne Airport by angry Ansett workers.

She was not expected in New Zealand until late tonight.

A spokesman for Miss Clark said the military arrangements were made because no commercial flight had been available to get the prime minister home

He said there had been no security risk to Miss Clark.

Miss Clark had earlier been whisked from Melbourne to an Australian Air Force Base, at East Sale in Victoria, in a police helicopter.

She was marooned at Melbourne after Ansett Australia staff blockaded an Air New Zealand aircraft she was due to board.

Up to 16,000 Ansett workers might lose their jobs after the Air New Zealand subsidiary was yesterday placed in voluntary administration, grounding all Ansett flights from today.

Ansett staff this morning parked several aircraft-moving vehicles and luggage carriers behind three Air New Zealand aircraft which were due to fly to Auckland or Wellington.

The staff then apparently walked off with the keys, causing problems shifting the vehicles.

Miss Clark, who was returning to New Zealand from an abandoned trip to Europe following the terrorist attacks in the United States, was a passenger on one of the Air New Zealand aircraft.

However it is not thought she was specifically targeted for protests.