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New Zealand Taxpayers To Fund Failed Joint Project

20 February 2001

New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters, says “that it is no surprise to learn of the imminent failure of the joint venture bid by New Zealand Airways Corporation and the American giant, Lockheed Martin to gain the contract to run Britain’s national air traffic control system (NATS).

Indications of serious trouble emerged some days ago when the financial backers of the bid, Apax, withdrew its support,” said Mr Peters, “and things have got progressively worse since then.

Reports in The Guardian newspaper, stating that the Lockheed Martin led bid is about to be eliminated due to the failure to deliver on its promised $2 billion computer air traffic control system at Swanwick in Hampshire, even after four years of development, has parallels here in New Zealand, he said.

“This bid was an ill conceived in the first instance and was largely predicated on the whims and fanciful thinking of a small number of individuals within Airways, whose grandiose dreams had now seen millions of dollars of claimed benefits to the New Zealand taxpayer drift off into space,” Mr Peters claimed.

“What is even more shameful however, is the manner in which the Government, in particular the Minister responsible, Mark Burton, continues to defend and support this ill conceived project, when the folly of its false foundations have been vigorously and constantly drawn to his attention.

In the spirit of ensuring those responsible for failure or wastage are held accountable, as is consistently promised by individual Labour party MPs, I look forward to that principle being demonstrated in this instance,” concluded Mr Peters.


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