3 Apr 2024

Teen pushing for return of international flights to Dunedin to meet PM

5:24 am on 3 April 2024
Benjamin Paterson.

Benjamin Paterson. Photo: Amber Paterson / supplied

A 14 year old campaigning to get international flights back to Dunedin has got a meeting with the Prime Minister today.

Virgin Australia flew directly between Brisbane and Dunedin weekly before the Covid-19 pandemic hit - but the route has not been reopened since then.

Benjamin Paterson started a campaign to bring those flights back in October.

Dunedin Airport

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

He also contacted the Prime Minister's office in October, leading to the meeting with Christopher Luxon.

Paterson said the idea was sparked after it took a long time to get to Wellington then Australia for a holiday.

He hoped Luxon would back the idea.

"Hopefully he looks into it and like supports it, and push[es] it a lot more."

He told RNZ the meeting was exciting, but that he was also nervous.

"I don't know what it is going to be like, hopefully it will be good."

He said he has had support of the plan in Dunedin, across New Zealand and in Australia.

He gathered 25,000 signatures on a petition calling for the flights before it ended in December.