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Will PM's Market Manipulation Cost Us More?

ACT Commerce Spokesman Stephen Franks says Helen Clark's recommendation to Air New Zealand Shareholders to hang on to their shares could end up costing taxpayers even more money, following news that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission may sue the airline in relation to the level of its financial disclosures prior to September 12 last year.

"After Ms Clark recommended in late September that small investors `hang on' to their shares, politically she had made it impossible to let the company fail. Accordingly, the Government lost the option of simply picking up the business from the receivers who would have been appointed - leaving behind liabilities such as the one that may now be crawling out of the swamp in Australia.

"As a result the Government is now in so deep the country's taxpayers will bear the cost of anything the airline did in the run-up to the financial rescue.

"Belligerent Australian unions have already squeezed $300 million out of Air New Zealand that was supposed to settle claims in relation to Ansett.

Mr Franks said he would be asking Helen Clark and Commerce Minister Paul Swain a number of Parliamentary questions, including when our Government first found out about the possible ASIC action, what the grounds are for the action and what account our Government took of the possibility of action before injecting funds into Air NZ.

Ends


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