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'Can Do' Approach Needed On Foreign Ownership

'Can Do' Approach Needed From Govt On Foreign Ownership

The Government must act promptly on the Singapore Airlines proposal to increase its shareholding in Air New Zealand, National's Transport spokesperson Belinda Vernon said today.

"National would support the Government approving an increase in the foreign ownership limits in Air New Zealand, if the Government is satisfied the long term interests of the airline and New Zealanders can be secured.

"It is important that this issue is sorted out so that New Zealand is assured of having a national airline for the future.

"We need a strong signal from the Government that it's keen to facilitate an increase in the foreign ownership limits while preserving New Zealand's negotiated landing rights.

"National would support the Government being decisive on the foreign ownership question so that Air New Zealand can get on with business. The continued speculation about the company's future is debilitating for all concerned.

"The option will give Air New Zealand the opportunity to keep Ansett Australia, its important feeder network into Air New Zealand International.

"If the Government wants to make the foreign ownership issue a bipartisan approach we would be happy to be involved in the scrutiny of the arrangement.

"Landing rights are constantly used as a reason for restraint. Yet air services agreements are increasingly relaxing foreign ownership restrictions while retaining emphasis on 'effective control' of the company.

"It must be remembered that air services agreements are negotiated and can also be renegotiated.

"The Government should not allow the traditional reservations about foreign ownership found among the Alliance, Greens and New Zealand First to impede this proposal," Belinda Vernon said.


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