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Govt should allow bigger SAL stake in Air NZ

Bill English National Finance Spokesperson

18 April 2001

Govt should allow bigger SAL stake in Air NZ

National will support a quick decision by the Government to allow Singapore Airlines to own more of Air New Zealand, National's Finance spokesman Bill English said today.

"Air New Zealand need to have a range of options for financing new aircraft for Ansett Australia. Singapore Airlines, already a supportive shareholder in Air New Zealand, is a gilt-edged world-class company who could contribute expertise as well as capital.

"This is a test for the Government's foreign investment stance. The Government has formed a Closer Economic Partnership with the Singapore government, the owner of Singapore Airlines. Helen Clark is in the region right now promoting New Zealand as a destination for foreign investment.

"The Prime Minister firmly rejected the last request from Air New Zealand for an increase in the 24.9% ceiling on foreign ownership, probably because of pressure from Jim Anderton and the Alliance.

"This is an opportunity for the Government to show it won't let coalition politics compromise the national interest, as it did by agreeing to The People's Bank. All it would take is some goodwill and common sense on an important issue for New Zealand's national carrier," Mr English said.

Ends




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