China postpones New Zealand tourism campaign, Australia/NZ News & Top Stories

An Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner plane taxis at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago Illinois on Nov 30 2018

An global flight from Auckland to Shanghai has turned around mid-air and returned to New Zealand, sparking concerns over increasingly frosty relations between the two countries and setting off a political war of words.

'A technicality meant the particular aircraft operating this service did not have Chinese regulatory authority to land in China'.

An Air New Zealand plane on its way to Shanghai was forced to return to Auckland after several hours in the air Saturday because paperwork for the flight included a reference to Taiwan, Stuff reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

"We know customers will be deeply disappointed and frustrated by this situation and we are very sorry for the disruption to their travel plans", Air New Zealand said.

The death on the Air New Zealand flight comes close to two months after a passenger also died on a Samoa Airways flight from Auckland to Samoa.

"Midway through our flight, the pilot informs us that Chinese authorities had not given this plane permission to land, so we needed to turn around".

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New Zealand's Minister for Transport Phil Twyford said his staff told him of the diversion once the issue became public.

Visitors view terracotta warriors during the preview of the exhibition "Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality" at the Museum of New Zealand in Wellington, New Zealand, on December 13, 2018.

The incident has created a potential headache for New Zealand's government, which has recently suffered frosty relations with Beijing. That's in New Zealand's best interest. "Them [the opposition National party] spreading misinformation around this flight I see as irresponsible and a real departure on what we've experienced on foreign policy before", Ardern told TVNZ. "Look, there are no questions speaking more broadly... that our relationship with China is a complex relationship". "That was a outcome", she added. It sometimes will have its challenges.

Acknowledging that there are geopolitical tensions rupturing between China & NZ isn't being disloyal to Jacinda, it's the inevitability of forces well beyond our shores.

Back in October, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis was so excited by the coming China-New Zealand year of tourism that he posted an official statement on the Beehive website. The exhibition runs until April 22, 2019.

Ardern was scheduled to visit China early this year but the invitation has been put on hold.

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