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Air New Zealand

4 October 2001

AIR NEW ZEALAND

United Future leader, Hon Peter Dunne, has expressed hope that the Government's re-financing package for Air New Zealand will allow the airline to put its woes behind it and re-focus on its role as the national carrier.

"The Government's involvement is an unfortunate, but inevitable, outcome of its refusal to let Singapore Airlines lift its shareholding a few months ago, and taxpayers will be rightly gulping that their money is being used essentially to dig the Government out of the hole its stubbornness created for it."

"$885 million is a gross price to pay to flatter Dr Cullen's vanity, and many people will rightly choke at that prospect," Mr Dunne says.

However, Mr Dunne says it is now time to move on to restore Air New Zealand to full viability.

"The Government should be under no illusions that it has the skill or competence to do this job."

"It should appoint the best directors to the Board and give them full rein to do the job properly, without any more Government interference."

"This mess has occurred entirely because of this Government's commercial ineptitude, and that cannot now be compounded by the Government taking any form of active role in the company's management."

"Its appointees to the Board should be charged with one mission only - returning the company to viability and profitability, so that the Government's $885 million can be reclaimed by the taxpayer for investment in the priority areas of health and education as soon as possible," Mr Dunne says.

Ends

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