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Shifting Blame to Media Shows No Air NZ Strategy

Shifting Blame to Media Shows Government Has No Strategy for Air NZ

Wednesday, September 26 2001 Richard Prebble Press Releases -- Commerce

Michael Cullen's attempt to blame the media for reporting the Prime Minister's advice to hang onto Air New Zealand shares, is incredible spin even for this government, ACT leader Richard Prebble says.

"Presumably journalists are now supposed to edit Helen Clark's remarks and when she says something irrational, they're supposed to suppress it," Mr Prebble said.

"Dr Cullen's statement reveals that the Prime Minister was just shooting from the lip on television last night. It's also confirmation that Ms Clark has no commercial experience.

"Even the most junior Minister should know that Ministers never comment on whether to buy shares.

"Dr Cullen is technically correct that under New Zealand commercial law, a recommendation not to sell shares doesn't make you liable for legal action. But when you are the Prime Minister, a recommendation to shareholders could open up the Crown to a court case on the grounds of negligence.

"Dr Cullen's latest statement does indicate that the Prime Minister was reckless in her remarks. So, should the government decide not to underwrite Air New Zealand shares, it appears that shareholders who lose money may well have a case against the Crown.

"Dr Cullen's statement also confirms that the government has no strategy to deal with Air New Zealand. I don't remember a government that has been more commercially incompetent than this one," Mr Prebble said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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