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Where Is The Shame At Air New Zealand?

The Air New Zealand directors who have brought that company to its humiliation should be falling on their swords says ACT Commerce spokesman Stephen Franks.

"As a country we call too often for more laws for accountability when simple old fashioned notions of honour would be a good start.

"The directors of Air New Zealand must know who among them, in addition to their former chairman who claimed the credit, is responsible for the Ansett catastrophe. They must know who, if any, opposed the decision, called for proper due diligence, asked whether the healthy local business and the efforts of thousands of hardworking New Zealanders should be put at risk on such a venture.

"So why are they all still sitting there, drawing their thousands of dollars per month?

"Pointing the finger now may seem the least important issue. Even so, there is a principle at stake. Shareholders and staff might get some comfort out of saving the directors' fees of those responsible.

"At least when boards were truly "old boys clubs", club notions of honour sometimes prevailed. Shareholders should not be left wondering what went wrong and who was responsible. Sir Selwyn should have resigned long before now, along with those who share the culpability.

"We should know also how far the government's blind eye towards Brierley domination is responsible. Months ago when the dithering started, and the company could have raised new capital at a far better price, the government should have used its Kiwi Share authority. This could have ensured that a sensible new capital raising was not being blocked by a company not even legally allowed to exercise control.

"More importantly it is time to restore some traditions of honour. They were more valuable than law, more valuable than "kiwi shares" and ministerial oversight, and more valuable than any length of regulatory fences at the tops of cliffs.

"The former chairman, and those who failed to stand up to him, should do the honourable and go immediately. This does not need to wait for any decision by an inexperienced government which has not done its duty," Stephen Franks said.


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