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No Cash Injection For Air NZ, PM Says

The Government has no desire to get involved in Air New Zealand’s commercial affairs, Prime Minister Helen Clark says.

Miss Clark said stories that the Government was considering putting money into the cash-strapped airline to preserve the 25 per cent foreign ownership cap were just speculation.

The Prime Minister said the “kiwi share” the Government presently holds is as far as it wants to go, at today’s post-cabinet press conference.

Cabinet discussed options for the future structure of Air New Zealand today, and will make a final decision at next Monday’s Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister said.

“We are taking advice from the negotiator [Rob Cameron of the investment bank Cameron and Co.] on the best way to get a viable Air New Zealand,” she said. “We want a strong national airline.”

Miss Clark said upsetting the governments of Australia or Singapore was not a consideration in making the decision.

Air New Zealand needs a capital injection to fund a fleet upgrade. Singapore Airlines is offering to up its stake to 49 percent and provide the capital, while Qantas is making an offer to buy Singapore Airlines’ 25 per cent stake and sell Ansett Australia, presently owned by Air New Zealand, to Singapore Airlines.

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