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Greens Welcome Air NZ Rescue

Greens Welcome Air NZ Rescue, Disappointed Govt Not Taking Stake

Green Party co-leader Rod Donald today said the Greens were pleased the Government was coming to the rescue of Air New Zealand but were disappointed the Government had not seen fit to take an equity stake in the airline.

"The Greens would have preferred the Government to use some of the money it is loaning Air New Zealand to take up the 10 percent equity stake which it has granted to Singapore Airlines," said Mr Donald.

"If it's good enough for the Singaporean Government, which owns 56 per cent of Singapore Airlines, to lift its shareholding in our national carrier to 35 per cent it should certainly be good enough for the New Zealand Government to take up the shares.

"What the Government has effectively done is remove the cap on foreign ownership of Air New Zealand, in requiring both Singapore Airlines and Brierleys to increase their stakes. This will turn Air New Zealand into a feeder service for Singapore Airlines."

Mr Donald said the Air New Zealand directors had not been commercially prudent when they failed to undertake comprehensive due diligence of Ansett before they purchased it.

"Air New Zealand can no longer claim to be our national carrier while it remains a pawn in someone elses game," he said.

"The whole fiasco with Air New Zealand and Ansett shows once again the dangers of privatisation. Since the Government sold Air New Zealand, the shares have fallen from $2.40 to 57 cents.

"Air New Zealand was sold for $660 million in 1989 and we are now bailing out an airline that we used to - and should still - own for nearly as much as it was sold for, without even getting a seat at the board table.

"The Air New Zealand directors gambled with the purchase of Ansett and they lost. What is needed now is for the Government to take an equity stake in the airline to bring it back under New Zealand control."

Ends




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