PM's flight forced to make U-turn above Kerikeri due to weather

Thu, Feb 2
Chris Hipkins.

A flight carrying Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has been forced to make a U-turn back to Auckland due to low cloud and bad weather in Kerikeri.

The flight was also carrying Police Minister Stuart Nash, as the two were supposed to be attending a hui with iwi leaders on Friday.

The plane attempted to land twice but was unable to do so.

Hipkins will now drive up to Waitangi tonight.

The Iwi Chairs Forum is an important event with elected chairpersons from iwi across Aotearoa discussing issues significant to the environment, welfare, Māori business and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

It comes as the area has been heavily affected by extreme weather and flooding over the last week, making access to Waitangi this weekend difficult.

Hipkins was in Auckland today, meeting with flood-affected businesses.

He announced a $700,000 relief package to help support and clean up rural communities and businesses.

Up in Waitangi, celebrations are underway, with festivities taking place despite the bad weather.