'We don't want them here' - Kapiti Mayor shuns Air New Zealand

Kapiti Mayor K Guranathan doesn't want Air New Zealand back in Kapiti, claiming the airline "abandoned" the district.

Air New Zealand is set to slash prices on domestic flights, some by 50 percent, in an attempt to increase the number of flights sold.

The national carrier stopped flying to Kapiti in March 2018, which Mr Guranathan said left the district scrambling to find another flight provider.

"We had to desperately find another airline and Air Chathams came and started flying in August."

Asked by The AM Show host Duncan Garner if he would welcome the airline back, Mr Guranathan said he's not in any rush to roll out the welcome mat.

"We don't want them here. They abandoned us abruptly and we are quite happy with Air Chathams, they're providing us a good service."

He said even though Air New Zealand provides more destination opportunities, he is quite happy staying with the smaller airline.

"I'm very passionate about being loyal to the airline that has come and brought us service when other people have abandoned us."

He said Air New Zealand does still have a horse in the race, with its cheap flights from Wellington proving a popular option for those willing to make the hour-long drive.

Mr Guranathan said if Air New Zealand asked to return to Kapiti, he would not hold his tongue.

"I will tell them what I've told you, but the fact is what the Mayor says is not important, the market will speak for itself."