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Government Commercially Incompetent

11 April 2002

"Revelations in papers released yesterday that Air New Zealand required $1.7 billion to restore it back to financial health shows how commercially incompetent the Government really is," says National Finance spokesman David Carter.

Mr Carter says the distribution of this highly, commercially sensitive information has thrown Air New Zealand directors and management into damage control.

"It is incredible that in the months this Government has taken holding back and deleting information from the papers, it has released the most commercially sensitive information that could seriously damage the airline's future."

Mr Carter says this further proves the commercial naivety and business incompetence of both Helen Clark and Michael Cullen.

"Ms Clark is still under investigation by the Securities Commission over her reckless comments to shareholders during the Government's bailout of Air New Zealand.

"To coin her own adage 'loose lips sink ships' and we await the commission's investigation with interest.

"Meanwhile, of major concern to taxpayers is that Dr Cullen has already handed over $1 billion of their money to the airline and, as we predicted at the time of the bailout, it will need a whole lot more.

"Due to the Government's incompetence we all know this figure is now $700 million.

"The banks are going baulk at this and point Air New Zealand in the direction of its major shareholder - the Government - leaving taxpayers to stump up with the cash again," Mr Carter concluded.

Ends

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