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Public needs Govt assurances over Air NZ

Bill English National Finance Spokesperson

24 September 2001

Public needs Govt assurances over Air NZ

The Government must stop chasing its own tail over Air New Zealand and give New Zealanders some reassurances over the future of domestic air travel, National's Finance spokesperson Bill English said today.

"Helen Clark is today softening the public up for the possibility of Air New Zealand being placed under statutory management. With the Government poised to appoint someone to run the airline, the public has every right to expect some straight answers," Bill English said.

"Can people feel secure that if they book a flight on Air New Zealand this week they will actually get to fly when the time comes? The Government owes the travelling public reassurance that their needs will be taken into account in the decision making process.

"The more Helen Clark and Michael Cullen dither the more it looks like they are worried about getting blamed, rather than about securing the airline.

"The bailout package was predicated on a share price of nearly 70 cents, while the actual share price has now fallen to around 20 cents. The Government has days, not weeks, to make decisions to secure the airline. However as Air New Zealand's prospects worsen the dithering continues.

"Last week the Government was distancing itself from statutory management, today the Prime Minister is talking it up.

"The Government is jumping from one foot to the other while the public is looking to them to stand up and tell it like it is," Bill English said.

Ends

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