PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has defended Barnaby Joyce's right to spend $4000 on a charter helicopter to get around his electorate.
The Deputy PM used a chopper to get to Drake - a 40-minute drive from his office in Tenterfield and four hours from his Tamworth office - twice in the past 12 months.
"His electorate is I think 66,000 square kilometres," Mr Turnbull said.
"The travel, if he had gone by road, would have been I think about four hours or a bit more each way, so members of Parliament who had large electorates like that - in fact, the allowance cuts in at a smaller size electorate than Barnaby's - have a charter allowance and that is what he was using."
"The aerial option for him was a helicopter or a very, very long car drive."