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Open Letter To PM On Air NZ


19 September 2001

Rt Hon Helen Clark

Prime Minister of New Zealand

Parliament Buildings


Dear Prime Minister


The purpose of this “open letter” is to put on the record confirmation of the strongest possible support from the Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce to government efforts to “ring fence” and secure the future of Air New Zealand.

We strongly support a campaign to rally all New Zealanders to support the airline in every practical way. If we let Air New Zealand go, we don’t just lose an airline. We lose:

- domestic and international networks that have taken decades to establish and are worth many millions of dollars in past and future earnings to this country;

- a global “koru” brand that connects with our export and tourism marketing worldwide;

- vital strategic links between our major cities and provincial centres;

- a symbol of our nationhood and capability to participate fully in world affairs, even though a small country a great distance from world events.

Beyond all this, Air New Zealand represents security and pride for Kiwis and their passion and need for travelling overseas - on business, as tourists and for “overseas experience.”

As a country that is among the most distant from major world markets, Air New Zealand is an investment by the whole country in securing some measure of control on our destiny - and more vital than ever for our national security given the challenging times the world faces following last week’s tragedy.

Air NZ is part of our culture and heritage. If we give it up, we can never get it back.

I must emphasise that our support for government, business and every New Zealander joining the fight to secure the survival of Air New Zealand, is not about protecting the interests of the major shareholders.

Indeed, we believe Air New Zealand’s first responsibility is to its customers - every New Zealander. Its second responsibility is to its 9,000 direct employees and jobs many times more than this indirectly dependent on the airline. Its third responsibility is to the wider New Zealand community of interest; our society and economy.

Our call is for every New Zealander to help the airline trade out of its present difficulties. In the interim government must if necessary underwrite the campaign of survival and securing a balanced business structure that keeps the “koru” brand flying high and secures the national interests currently at stake - not for the major shareholders but for the future of the people of New Zealand.

Michael Barnett

Chief Executive

Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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