The real reason plane was denied landing permission in China

Passengers were awoken mid-flight by the pilot announcing Chinese authorities had not given the plane permission to land

In April 2018 the Civil Aviation Administration (CAA) of China ordered a number of worldwide airlines to change how Taiwan was described on their websites and promotional material.

New Zealand's Minister for Transport Phil Twyford said his staff told him of the diversion once the issue became public.

Air New Zealand did not respond to questions about the aircraft.

Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister, was quick to clarify that the administrative issue was separate to China-New Zealand relations.

"NZ289 Auckland to Shanghai returned to Auckland around four and a half to five hours into its journey after it was discovered a technicality meant the particular aircraft operating this service did not have Chinese regulatory authority to land in China", it said in a statement Monday.

A month later Stuff asked Air New Zealand whether it had received any order from the CAA of China in regards to how the airline referred to Taiwan.

"It gets into the political situation and the way the different governments recognise or don't recognise states, and I would think Air New Zealand would be guided very much by what the New Zealand government position is ... therefore look at it in context of the New Zealand government's relationship with China".

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'New Zealand's relationship with China is deteriorating, ' says Simon Bridges.The National Party leader's comments comes as Air NZ flight was denied entry into China on February 10. "We need to know what has happened here".

"In the past, New Zealand has enjoyed a consensus approach to foreign policy, a unified front". "Our relationship with China is a complex relationship, and sometimes, it will have its challenges", she told TVNZ.

Ardern is left trotting out the line that this is a scheduling issue, and the only thing keeping her from an official visit is scheduling clashes. "But they (China) remain an incredibly important economic and people-to-people partner", she stressed, citing the ongoing exhibition of China's famed Terracotta Warriors at the National Museum of New Zealand as a sign of strong ties.

The United States, Australia and New Zealand have all blocked or limited the use of Huawei equipment as the company eyes a global toehold for 5G technology.

"I have been issued with an invitation to visit China, that has not changed".

New Zealand yesterday said Beijing had postponed an event to launch the China-New Zealand Year of Tourism 2019 in Wellington next week.

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