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Greens ask Govt. not to increase foreign ownership

20 July 2001

Greens ask Government not to increase foreign ownership of Air NZ

The Green Party has called on the Government to reject Singapore Airline's bid to increase its ownership of Air New Zealand.

"The Government should also urgently review the rules that allow Brierleys to hold shares in a strategic asset such as Air New Zealand when it is now based and owned off shore", said Green Party co-leader Rod Donald.

Mr Donald today sent an open letter to Prime Minister Helen Clark explaining the Greens' stand point.

"The Government is risking our national sovereignty if it allows this crucial component of our transport infrastructure to end up under the effective control of Singapore Airlines," he said.

"The Government should instead be endeavouring to increase the proportion of New Zealand shareholding in Air New Zealand.

"In fact, we have asked the New Zealand Government to investigate taking an equity stake itself.

"If it's good enough for the Singapore Government (through Temasek Holdings which owns 56% of Singapore Airlines) to invest in New Zealand's national carrier, then it should be good enough for the New Zealand Government to do the same."

The Green Party is alarmed by Finance Minister Michael Cullen's statement yesterday that the Government risked damaging its relationship with Singapore if it turned down a request to allow Singapore Airlines to increase its stake to as much as 49 percent, double the 25 percent limit.

"Dr Cullen is implying that we are not masters of our own destiny anymore," Rod Donald said.

"The fear of breaking 'the spirit of New Zealand-Singapore Closer Economic Partnership' is a clear example of the risks brought about by free trade agreements. They affect our ability to make decisions in the best interest of the whole country."

The Green Party's letter to the Prime Minister is available.

ENDS


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