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Mother Of Five - Leave Virgin Alone

MEDIA RELEASE Wednesday 29 August 2001

MOTHER OF FIVE - LEAVE VIRGIN ALONE

- JO COUGHLAN - Mother of five and Wellington City Council Lambton Ward candidate, Jo Coughlan, said today that reports Air NZ may wish to buy Virgin Blue are a concern as this may not be the best for Wellington and its citizens. It may be better if they just left Virgin Blue alone, she said.

Ms Coughlan has been running a campaign to bring Virgin Blue to Wellington. She has written to the Minister of Transport, Marion Hobbs, Prime Minister Helen Clark and also Sir Richard Branson.

Ms Coughlan said tonight, "If Wellington is to be a place where we can have rewarding careers, more jobs, and a great place to raise a family, it is vital that the city is well served by excellent air links to not only the rest of NZ but the world.

"The reports that Air NZ is seeking to purchase Virgin Blue may make sense to Air NZ but if it were to mean that Wellington missed a golden opportunity to enhance its air services in terms of costs and timetables, that would be a concern."

Ms Coughlan said that obviously it is all up in the air at this point but depending on the nature of any proposal regarding Air NZ and Virgin Blue she would likely make submissions to the Commerce Commission.

The New Zealand and Australian Governments signed an Open Skies Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on November 20 2000. This formalises the Single Aviation Market (SAM) agreement signed in 1996. An application was received by the Government from Virgin Blue to operate in New Zealand on May 14 this year. However nothing has been announced to the public, and options for an Air NZ's capital injection appears to have clouded the issue.

Ms Coughlan said that she had yet to get a response from the Transport Minister or Sir Richard Branson.

Contact: Jo Coughlan 04 972 44 37, 021 522 142

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Some brief background on Jo Coughlan. I am pleased Mark Blumsky and Sarah Ottrey have nominated me. They share my passion for family, jobs and fun. Conor and I have five Wellington born children (nine years to eight months) so I want Wellington to offer the very best in education, career, business, sporting and cultural opportunities. Wellington should offer a safe, stimulating and fun environment in which everyone can grow and prosper.

Career: BSc Biochemistry (Otago), New Zealand Aluminium Smelters (Comalco); Manager, New Zealand Tourism Awards; Marketing and Communications, The National Bank; PR Manager ERGO, AMP's banking subsidiary; Press Secretary, Don McKinnon, Minister of Foreign Affairs; currently consulting for Wellington based global IT company. Age 33.

Community: Chairperson Wadestown Community Creche; Trustee, Wellington Life Education; Wadestown Kindergarten Committee. I enjoy a great book club and coach netball.

I want Wellington to be the best city in the world. I'm backing Wellington so I hope you'll back me.

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