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Free Market Lunacy Comes Full Circle

Media Release

4 October 2001

Air New Zealand -- Free Market Lunacy Comes Full Circle

“The Government’s decision to effectively buy an 83% stake in Air New Zealand is another example of the free market lunacy that Labour started coming full circle and costing the taxpayer a fortune not once, but twice” says New Zealand first Leader, Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“Having sold the airline at a bargain price in 1989 the Government has in the last month, because of its naïve comments, ratcheted up the price it will buy back a majority shareholding. No one can determine now what the loss to the taxpayer is, or will be. But what is certain is that it will cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions, and unnecessarily so.

“The Prime Minister’s recent comments drove the share price up when she recommended to share holders that they ‘hang on to their shares”. She had privileged information, which she made known to parties able to dramatically improve their investment by having this information available to them. There has never been in New Zealand such a high profile case of insider-trading as this. The Prime Minister is not above the law just because she is the Prime Minister. All the technical requirements of insider trading were met by her statements.

“In the last 15 years, this country has been damaged enormously by a combination of silly businessmen and even sillier politicians imposing their special brand of economic lunacy on this country.

“In short, under these geniuses $885m, and more to come, buys an 83% stake of what was sold in 1989 for $660m, when the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance were sitting on the front bench along with the ACT guru Richard Prebble.

“When will this country ever learn?,” concluded Mr Peters.

ENDS


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