Far North Mayor John Carter has taken his concerns about Air New Zealand's axing of Kaitaia flights all the way to Prime Minister John Key.

Mr Carter was joined at last Monday's Beehive meeting by Far North Holdings chief executive Andy Nock and four other provincial mayors to discuss the national carrier's decision to withdraw air services from Kaitaia, Whakatane, Masterton and Westport.

Mr Carter described the meeting as "positive and constructive".

The mayors asked Mr Key to consider proposals aimed at ensuring the long-term viability of provincial airports and scheduled flights, which they said were vital for the regions' economies.


Mr Carter said the Prime Minister was receptive to the idea of providing a guaranteed minimum investment of six years at airports jointly owned by local authorities and the Ministry of Transport, such as Whakatane and Buller. He was also willing for the mayors to discuss with his ministers the possibility of bringing airports up to certification standards.

The Government would also support the mayors in their bid to persuade Air New Zealand to enter code share agreements with other airlines. That would allow people connecting to Air New Zealand flights to take advantage of discounted fares.

"Our discussions with Air New Zealand have been positive to date, but there are a number of issues which we need the support of the Government with so our endeavours are successful," Mr Carter said.

The other mayors in the group hail from Whakatane Opotiki, Masterton and Buller.

Meanwhile, Far North Holdings is still negotiating with four airlines vying to replace Air New Zealand on the Kaitaia-Auckland route.

The contenders include Tauranga-based Sunair and Auckland's Inflite.

The other two are not known.

The national carrier's last flight from Kaitaia will be on April 28.