Australians scan New Zealand PM for explosives

Australian authorities have defended their decision to search the New Zealand Prime Minister for explosives at Sydney Airport last month.

Australian authorities have defended their decision to search the New Zealand Prime Minister for explosives at Sydney Airport last month.

Helen Clark was on her way to the Middle East to visit troops when her Emirates flight landed in Australia.

She was searched while being escorted by an Australian official and despite security staff being told who she was. The Prime Minister was "picked randomly" from a queue for a body scan with a new explosives detection device.

Australian Tourism Minister Joe Hockey said the search had been an embarrassing error and he hoped it would not happen again. But a spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister John Anderson told the New Zealand Heraldthere was no embarrassment at security staff's actions.

He said he wasn't aware any apology had been made or was being planned, and no complaint had been received from Helen Clark or the New Zealand Government.

Australian officials say the New Zealand authorities failed to notify ceremonial and hospitality officials in advance.

Asked on radio what would have happened if Australian Prime Minister John Howard had been searched entering New Zealand, Prime Minister Clark replied: "There'd be an outroar."

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