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Govt Plays Part In Dire Air NZ Situation

6 September 2001

The Government today admitted it has sat on an approach from Singapore Airlines asking it to raise the foreign investment stake in Air New Zealand for 17 months. Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley challenged the Government in Parliament to say how long it has been considering an offer by Singapore Airlines to raise the stake of foreign investment in Air New Zealand.

"The Labour Government confirmed in Parliament that Singapore Airlines approached it to test New Zealand's view on raising the foreign investment cap to 40 percent in March 2000.

"If it wasn't for the Labour Government dithering so long on this issue Air New Zealand wouldn't be in such deep financial trouble today. The Government's hopelessness and negligence in dealing with this is one of the reasons Air New Zealand's future is now seriously under threat.

"The reason the Government can't get its head around the issue is that not only is the Cabinet divided on it but its Cabinet Ministers don't have the business nous to deal with it.

"Helen Clark and Michael Cullen can't simply wash their hands of the issue after sitting on those same hands for so long, leaving Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines up in the air," Mrs Shipley said.

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