Hamilton-made plane in North Korea a mystery - John Key

The Hamilton-made plane at the airshow in North Korea (Supplied)
The Hamilton-made plane at the airshow in North Korea (Supplied)

Officials are still trying to find out how a Hamilton-made plane ended up in North Korea, and whether it breaches any laws or sanctions.

Prime Minister John Key has asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for an explanation after the 10-seater Pacific Aerospace P-750 XSTOL was seen at North Korea's inaugural Wonsan International Friendship Air Festival last week.

The aircraft's tail was emblazoned with the isolated communist nation's flag.

"It would [concern me] if it was exported there in some way because New Zealand has a ban on exports to North Korea, we have sanctions. But I just don't know how it's got there and what it's doing there," says Mr Key.

"The question is, whether we even understood how it was getting there, what took place, and they're the facts that MFAT are identifying at the moment."

New Zealand's law bans trade with North Korea, in line with a United Nations sanction from 2006. It includes direct and indirect trading.

The plane in question was sold to Chinese company Free Sky earlier this year, and made its way to the totalitarian state from there.

"We don't try to sell things to a third party to get them into a country where we have sanctions, because that breaches the moral code of what we're doing," says Mr Key.

He says it doesn't jeopardise the free trade agreement New Zealand has with China, nor the joint venture deal Pacific Aerospace has with Beijing Automotive.

"You wouldn't want to revisit an entire free trade agreement we have with China and an aerospace agreement we have that could be extremely beneficial to New Zealand companies solely because someone has breached agreements they've got," says Mr Key.