New Zealand’s Prime Minister’s aircraft breaks down while on its way to Japan

WELLINGTON, NZ (Reuters) – The New Zealand Defence Force plane that was taking New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon from New Zealand to Japan on Sunday broke down, forcing him to take a commercial airline, his office confirmed Monday.

Luxon will spend four days in Japan. He is expected to visit Japan’s Prime Minster Fumio Kishhida, and promote New Zealand businesses.

New Zealand media reported the Boeing 757 had broken down during a refuelling station in Papua New Guinea. The business delegation, journalists, and Luxon were left stranded at Port Moresby while Luxon flew to Japan on a commercial flight.

They are increasingly unreliable due to their age. The two 757s of the New Zealand Defence Force have been in service for more than 30 year.

Judith Collins, New Zealand’s Defence Minister, told Newstalk ZB radio on Monday that the constant flight problems were “embarrassing”, and that her ministry would be looking to fly Luxon and his delegaion commercially going forward.

New Zealand’s defense force struggles with aging equipment and maintaining enough personnel. The government wants to increase spending on defence, but it is also trying reduce expenditures as the country faces economic challenges.

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