Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Crunch Time For Air NZ - Richard Prebble Speech

Sunday, September 9 2001
Richard Prebble Speech


Extract from a speech by Hon Richard Prebble, leader ACT New Zealand, to ACT's Wellington regional conference, Sunday 10 September at 3pm

Tomorrow the Cabinet will either announce some form of bail out of Air New Zealand by the taxpayer, or the board of Air New Zealand will be forced by its bankers to put Ansett into liquidation ' so putting 16,000 employees out of work.

This is an airline that's been destroyed by government dithering. The Qantas proposal was never an option.

Three months ago the Air New Zealand board had a viable option to refinance the airline. But this coalition government, using its Kiwi share, stopped it.

Why?

Jim Anderton in Opposition referred to Air New Zealand as Air Singapore. The Alliance's ideological opposition to any foreign ownership has paralysed the Cabinet.

The Greens also played a role. Air New Zealand realised that it's a minority government, so they briefed the Greens who told the airline's management that the Greens wanted the Ansett venture to fail ' so Air New Zealand could become a "boutique" airline.

I've just been to the Solomon Islands. Solomon Airlines is down to leasing just one Boeing 737. I don't want to live in a country with one of the Greens' boutique airlines. It's scary.

The government can't blame the National/ACT Opposition.. National publicly came out over two months ago in favour of allowing Singapore Airlines to increase its shareholding ' so Labour had the numbers in parliament.



As leader of ACT, I came out over two months ago and told that government that BIL ' now a Singapore company ' should be kicked off the New Zealand share registry. BIL's opposition to a properly-price New Zealand share issue is a large part of the airline's financing problems.

If the coalition had just let the board refinance the company, then today Air New Zealand would be an integral part of one of the world's largest airlines ' one that will be a winner in the international shake-out of airlines. Ansett would be re-financed without the need to buy more aircraft, and delivering a potential four million passengers a year to Air New Zealand. And the future of our tourism industry, the nation's largest employer, would be secure.

As Terry McCrann wrote in his column in yesterday's Australian, "Is Helen Clark the most incompetent Prime Minister that country has ever had?"

The Air New Zealand debacle is a wake-up call to business of the cost of the Alliance/Labour government. A Labour/Green government would be even more dysfunctional.

It does matter who the government is. It could be your business ' your job ' that is next.

It looks likely that in the Air New Zealand saga, we could get the worst of all worlds ' Ansett falls over, a taxpayer bail-out and Singapore Airlines picks up control for a song.

Only Helen, Jim and Rod Donald could manage that outcome.

But the most likely outcome from tomorrow's crucial Cabinet meeting is a non-decision. Helen Clark will then head for a talkfest of "Third Way" leaders in Europe ' where she can be cheered for taking 150 Afghan refugees ' before a decision is made on saving the national airline.

But the BBC is not interested in Air New Zealand ' so neither is Clark.

Michael Cullen believes a meeting of finance ministers in Asia is more important than Air New Zealand.

What is Mark Gosche doing? He's the Transport Minister ' the minister in charge of aviation. He's so ineffective that even his own colleagues won't let him make a decision about Air New Zealand or railways.

If the national airline is not regarded as important enough to stay at home for, then I predict the coalition will decide not to make a decision.

Why break a habit?

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

National Terrorism Threat Level Moves To Medium
Medium is defined as a terrorist attack is assessed as feasible and could well occur. The new level remains higher than it was before the 15 March terrorist attack when the threat level was low. More>>

SCOOP COVERAGE: CHRISTCHURCH MOSQUES TERROR ATTACK


Environment Aotearoa 2019: Report Warns Environment In Serious Trouble

The report is jointly produced by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand, and is a follow on from the last report in 2015.

The report says the way New Zealanders live and make a living is having a serious impact on the environment, and the benefits New Zealanders get from being in nature, though not measured or quantified, could be lost. More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On Scrapping The Capital Gains Tax

As PM Jacinda Arden said yesterday, there was no point in Labour bringing a proposal into the House that it didn’t have the votes to get passed. Looking back, maybe she always felt this outcome to be inevitable... More>>

ALSO:

City Rail Link: Billion Dollar Cost Rise (And Preferred Bidder)

The revised cost envelope for completing the entire Auckland City Rail Link project now totals $4.419 billion. The revised cost has yet to be endorsed by the project’s sponsors (the Crown and Auckland Council). More>>

ALSO:

Meth Scare: Debt Write-Off For HNZ Meth Testing Evictions

People living in Housing New Zealand (HNZ) properties who were wrongly evicted because of flawed methamphetamine contamination policies will have their related debts with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) written off. More>>

ALSO:

RNZ Report: Fears Grow For NZ Nurse Kidnapped In Syria

A New Zealand nurse working for the Red Cross was captured by Islamic State (IS) in Syria more than five years ago, and there are now public pleas for any information that could help bring her home. More>>

ALSO:

Streets Blocked In London: Climate 'Extinction Rebellion' Reaches Aotearoa

Across the world, thousands of people are taking part in a rebellion to avert climate, ecological and human catastrophe. This begins in Aotearoa New Zealand today. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels