Woman dies on Air New Zealand flight on arrival in Samoa

Cheryl Sanders
February 12, 2019

New Zealand said on Tuesday that an event to launch the China-New Zealand Year of Tourism 2019 in Wellington next week was postponed by the Chinese and Ardern told reporters that dates for her trip to China, planned for the end of 2018, has still not been finalised.

The Air New Zealand flight was refused entry into Shanghai yesterday and had to turn back with airport officials saying the flight had no regulatory authority to land there.

Speaking to media, Bridges said the relationship between New Zealand and China appeared to be "steadily deteriorating", with Peters making careless remarks on issues such as the Belt and Road Initiative and Ardern failing to rein him in.

The turn-back attracted global attention and comes after the New Zealand carrier recently withdrew its latest safety video after heavy criticism.

"We've got a situation right now where the Prime Minister is seeking meetings in China and she can't get them and there is a relationship problem here, " he continued. After returning to Auckland, the airline texted passengers to say the flight had been rescheduled and would depart on Sunday night.

Air New Zealand did not respond to questions about a Taiwan link but said "as is required, the application includes a list of destinations the airline operates to, including Taipei".

"There are challenges there though, our job is to make sure that we always - in all our relationships - represent New Zealand's best interests, and we do that".

Mainland China (the People's Republic of China) refuses to have diplomatic relations with any country which recognises Taiwan (which calls itself the Republic of China) as an independent state.

When asked about the status of the Huawei 5G contract, she said that data and security were the most important considerations, emphasizing that "it's not about vendor, it's not about country".

"It has always been a complex relationship, one that is particularly strong economically, our people-to-people exchanges increasing, particularly through tourism".

Ardern also dismissed claims that the Huawei ban had any impact on the diplomatic ties, and insisted that New Zealand was not pushed into the decision by other countries.

During a press conference in Beijing Monday, China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying blamed the flight's temporary deployment hiccup as the reason it was not authorised to land in China, citing news reports she read online.

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