`Get on the spouses` bus`: NZ driver refuses Gillard entry

The mistake was cleared up when an aide told the bus driver he was talking to the Australian Prime Minister.

Updated: Sep 15, 2011, 10:30 AM IST

Melbourne: A bus driver in Auckland refused
to let Prime Minister Julia Gillard on board a bus for leaders
at the Pacific island leaders` forum last week in New Zealand
and told her that she must ride with the spouses instead.

The incident occurred last Thursday when the leaders and
their spouses were being driven in separate buses from Sky
City hotel to the waterfront for security reasons last
Thursday, according to `The Age` daily.

Security procedures meant the leaders had to travel on one
bus while their partners travelled on the other.

The mistake was cleared up when an aide told the bus
driver he was talking to the Australian Prime Minister.

A spokesman for NZ Internal Affairs confirmed the incident
and said the apology was offered as soon as officials were
made aware of it.

Gillard did not appear to take offence, however, an
apology was offered and the department regretted that the
incident occurred.

Gillard was heard joking with her partner Tim Mathieson
about the slight and put her arm around him as they left.
But it was not the only mix up during the forum.
At the opening ceremony, the MC told leaders` spouses to
"come up and meet your husbands".

PTI