No plans to replace 'embarrassing' Government planes

Despite causing delays and multiple logistical nightmares, there are no plans to replace the planes commonly used to transport the Prime Minister.

The Government employs two Boeing 757s from the Defence Force to transport its VIPs, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her deputy Winston Peters.

However, a week of breakdowns has highlighted the fact that the planes are reaching the end of their lifespan.

On Monday, one of those planes was grounded in Australia due to technical issues, placing doubt on the travel plans of Ardern, who was due to fly to meet Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Melbourne later in the week.

While the plane was successfully fixed and flown back to New Zealand in time for the trip, it then broke down again after the first leg, causing Ardern and her fiance Clarke Gayford to take a commercial flight home.

Defence Minister Ron Mark told NZME that there are no imminent plans to replace the ailing planes.

"Of course it is always embarrassing when a plane that the Prime Minister is given to travel on breaks down but replacing it isn't a priority.

"We could fix the problem overnight if someone gave me a billion dollars or so."

The two planes were purchased in 2003 for $221 million and were reported to be 10 years old at the time. Mark says the Government is stuck with them until 2028 when their operation will be officially reviewed.

Mark added that he has recommended the Prime Minister use chartered planes for her future air travel plans.

"That's one of the conversations I've been having with Defence and no options are off the table."

Technical problems have plagued the 757s in recent years.

In June, a second plane had to be sent to pick up Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters when one broke down in Vanuatu.

In 2016, former Prime Minister John Key had to be rescued when one broke down twice, stranding him and a delegation of nearly 100 in Townsville, Australia en route to India.