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Confirmation Of Failure At Last

“Unable to string us along any further with vague tales of being held in reserve or doing well to be coming third, it is no surprise to hear that the New Zealand Airways Corporation was not successful in its bid to win the contract to provide air traffic control services to the United Kingdom’s National Air Traffic System” (NATS), New Zealand First Leader, Rt Hon Winston Peters stated today.

Commenting on the announcement that the contract had been awarded to a group comprised of airlines, he said, “this made a great deal of sense and was relatively easy to predict from the outset”.

“It has been most difficult to understand all the way through this long and drawn out process, why the Government, especially the Minister of State Owned Enterprises, Hon Mark Burton had permitted the Airways Corporation bid to continue at such great cost to the New Zealand taxpayer when it had no chance at all of succeeding”, suggested Mr Peters.

“It is even more difficult to fathom why the Minister was prepared to go to the lengths which he did to protect Airways from the scrutiny of Parliament so necessary in this case”, he said.

“I have been critical of the bid since it was first announced,” said Mr Peters, “as the scheme placed at risk New Zealand’s air traffic control organisation because its most senior tier of management were absent overseas for months and months on end and only fleetingly visited New Zealand to tell us how wonderfully everything was going,”said Mr Peters.

“The actions of the Minister of State Owned Enterprises, Mark Burton, in attempting to explain away the losses incurred by the Airways Corporation in its failed bid as a justifiable business risk, is nothing less than a cover up for irresponsible management and the lack of Ministerial oversight. To suggest that the expenditure of $2 or 3 million of taxpayers funds in seeding money was justified, in order to gain a mythical $70 million profit is ludicrous, said Mr Peters.

“This was never a venture in which it could be argued that an investment of such proportion was justified. The project never had any chance of succeeding, based as it was purely on speculation and promises, with no proven record of performance anywhere in the world, and being merely a fanciful dream of a small group of privileged individuals who had an eye for the main chance. This grandiose venture was doomed to fail from the very beginning, and I repeatedly criticised the wasted expenditure in pursuit of a fools’ gold, using taxpayers funds. This whole saga of Airways involvement in this venture, has been a most unfortunate experience for the taxpayer and for New Zealand’s International standing, and I intend to pursue the question of disclosure of the real costs, Mr Peters concluded.


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