Winston Peters says regional airports are struggling and if NZ First is part of the next government he'll make sure they get the funding they need to survive.

"New Zealand First is calling for a stop to the 'survival of the fittest' dogma where regional airports either operate successfully or go under," he told a public meeting in Gisborne on Tuesday.

"We will provide much-needed funding for regional airports owned by local authorities to help pay for infrastructure improvements to meet safety standards.

"We can't reasonably expect small airports around the country to meet these huge costs."

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Mr Peters' list of at-risk airports is: Kaitaia, Kerikeri, Whangarei, Whakatane, Taupo, Gisborne, Whanganui, Masterton, Westport, Hokitika, Timaru and Chatham Islands.

-AAP