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PM's loose lips suspend Air NZ shares

Belinda Vernon National Transport Spokesperson

26 September 2001

PM's loose lips suspend Air NZ shares

Prime Minister Helen Clark's loose lips on Air New Zealand's future have forced the sharemarket to suspend trading on Air New Zealand shares today, National's Transport spokesperson Belinda Vernon MP said today.

"The Prime Minister's 'don't sell notice' yesterday was totally irresponsible and confirms how inept she and her Government are in dealing with business and the commercial world. Her comments that investors should hold onto their Air NZ shares push the boundaries of securities law and expose her naivety in business.

"After talking down the shares on Monday saying statutory management was a viable option, she then talked them up by urging investors to 'hang on' to shares. This is erratic and irresponsible behaviour.

"Given her obvious 'inside' knowledge about the Government's intentions with Air New Zealand her loose words test the principles of securities legislation which outlaws manipulation of markets in this way.

"Earlier this year Jim Anderton was exposed for his careless words about the viability of the People's Bank, opening the Government to potential litigation as he effectively guaranteed investment in the People's Bank. He was rapped over the knuckles.

"Now Helen Clark has repeated the faux pas urging investors to hang on to their shares. It is an abuse of her position to advise shareholders when she has inside information.

"In the last month the loose lips of Michael Cullen and Trevor Mallard have demonstrated on successive occasions the Labour-Alliance Government's failure to grasp the sensitivities of the market. Helen Clark has shown their shortcomings stem from the top," Belinda Vernon said.

Ends

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