New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie New Jersey Governor's Office

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the state's Republican Party will pay more than $3000 to cover costs for state helicopter flights the governor took last week to attend his son's high school baseball games, and called focus on the story media theater that is less important than the state's fiscal problems.

Christie used the helicopter for personal use on two occasions in the last week. He will repay the state $2,151.50. The Republican State Committee has paid $1,232.29 for part of a trip on Tuesday.

Christie addressed reporters at a press conference. He said he had used the helicopter because it would have been impossible to attend otherwise.

I also understand that this is a really fun story for you guys, noting that he had to work to resolve the state's pensions problems. He said he hoped paying the state back would eliminate the distraction being created by his use of the helicopter.

I'm willing to do it, if it would remove that distraction.

He said the incident was a political theater and media theater that people enjoy at times.

On Wednesday his spokesperson issued a statement through his office about the matter.

Though the superintendent of the State Police noted yesterday the travel does not cost taxpayers additional dollars, the governor understands the sensitivity about this kind of thing and believes he owes it to the public to ensure that this is not a distraction, said spokesman Michael Drewniak.