Revealed: Air NZ began hiding other activities as 1 NEWS investigated Saudi military dealings

Source: 1News

1 NEWS can reveal Air New Zealand started concealing some of its activities when it became obvious news of its work for the Saudi military was about to break. 

Today the airline fronted up at Parliament, promising to be open and transparent. 

Air New Zealand's secret work for the Saudi navy has been widely condemned and there was yet another apology today - this time to politicians in Wellington.  

"I'll be very clear, we have fallen short. For that reason I apologise on behalf of Air New Zealand that this has occurred," Air NZ chairman Dame Therese Walsh said.

Chief executive Greg Foran echoed her message.

"There's a difference between can you do the work and should you do the work," he said.

When asked why it took so long for Air New Zealand to respond to 1 NEWS' inquiries about the matter, Foran said: "The inquiry first came through to someone reasonably junior in the communications team. Once I heard about it, [I took] immediate action."

Now 1 NEWS can reveal more about how that played out.    

On January 27, Finance Minister Grant Robertson told the airline to answer 1 NEWS' questions. Foran says that's when he was alerted. 

On January 28, Air New Zealand said it would respond the next day.

There was no response and instead, the airline pulled down its Gas Turbines website for "maintenance" on January 29. 

When the new website came back online, all the details about Gas Turbines' work around the world had been erased.

"We were updating exactly what was happening and we are continuing to work on the investigation," Foran said to explain why the website information was removed.

"[There was] absolutely no cover up. As I've said, we're completely open and transparent. The moment we heard about this 10 days ago we started working."

Air New Zealand also revealed it didn't have export permits for the Saudi navy engines. 

And there's more. Foran says they still need to investigate whether there's a chance New Zealand is still aiding international humanitarian crimes in the remaining military contracts.

It also can't name all the foreign navies it works with. 

"I haven't had a chance to get into that level of detail," Foran said.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson wants Foran to dig harder.

"If he knows the numbers he probably knows the names, and I think we should probably all follow that up."

The airline is fronting up to MPs, but leaving even more questions about its actions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is also looking into the legality of the work undertaken by the airline.