Ministers shun Jetstar despite cheaper pricing

NZ First leader Winston Peters has slammed Government ministers for refusing to fly Jetstar despite forcing public servants to do so.

Mr Peters says it's a classic case of do as I say not as I do.

"It's got a certain name in Australia, right - it's not called Sh*tstar for nothing," he says.

Mr Peters does not fly Jetstar as it "doesn't pay tax in New Zealand", his spokesperson says.

"We're proud to support a New Zealand company [Air New Zealand]."

Newshub has looked through 20-months' worth of ministers' flights and found the taxpayer spent more than $1.3 million on Air New Zealand and just over $2,000 on Jetstar.

Of 27 Ministers, only five flew Jetstar over that same period, each appearing to use it just once.

They were Sam Lotu Iiga, Todd McClay, Paul Goldsmith, Peter Dunne and Te Ururoa Flavell - who doesn't actually remember doing so.

And then there's David Seymour, who used it most - but that's just three times.

"I've flown them, I just can't quite remember in what capacity, but quite happy to fly Jetstar," says Prime Minister Bill English.

But even though ministers shun Jetstar, the government has signed up the airline as a travel supplier to all government agencies - that means public servants are expected to use it where possible.

Newshub checked a regular flight schedule for ministers - flying from Auckland to Wellington on Monday morning, and back on Thursday night.

On Jetstar you'd pay $188 - but for flights around the same time on Air New Zealand, you'd pay an extra $60.

Most ministers say they're happy to fly Jetstar but it's not always a matter of cost - it also comes down to convenience and flexibility.