25 Oct 2016

Video: Bill English on the PM's delayed India visit

9:34 am on 25 October 2016

In Focus - Deputy Prime Minister Bill English tells Morning Report the plane fault delaying the Prime Minister's delegation to India is frustrating for the 80-strong delegation.

The first day's events, in Mumbai, have been cancelled and John Key will concentrate on the second day's schedule, pushing negotiations for a free trade agreement.

"He'd certainly have preferred to have got to India on time," Mr English told Morning Report presenter Susie Ferguson.

"I'm sure there's quite a level of frustration. It's quite a big group of 80 people, we've put a lot of priority on building this relationship with India."

Mr English said the planes had been pretty reliable, and it was up to the Air Force to ensure they're maintained and technically proficient.

On his cancelled meeting last week with two pro-democracy activists from Hong Kong, Mr English said there had been no discussion or contact with Chinese officals in the matter. The meeting was called off on his office's advice that there might be diplomatic sensitivites, he said.

The pair are still in the country but Mr English wouldn't be rescheduling the meeting.

"No-one's asked, but I don't think that would be that productive right now."