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Please explain, Dr Cullen

David Carter National Finance Spokesperson

31 July 2002

Please explain, Dr Cullen

Finance Minister, Michael Cullen, must explain why he was keeping the increasingly apparent deal between Air New Zealand and Qantas secret during the election campaign, says National Finance spokesperson David Carter.

"Throughout the campaign, Michael Cullen vigorously denied knowledge of any deal between the two airlines.

"Yet now it appears that prior to the election, Dr Cullen was briefing fund managers on the benefits of such a deal.

"This is dishonesty of the highest order, and not the sort of behaviour expected of New Zealand's Finance Minister.

"National remains fundamentally opposed to the sale of any stake in Air New Zealand to Qantas. It will simply see Air New Zealand turned into a marginalised regional airline. This deal is not in Air New Zealand's long term interests, nor in the interests of New Zealand travellers.

"New Zealanders are going to find themselves rolled by the Australians. Dr Cullen is proving about as effective with this as Trevor Mallard did with securing the Rugby World Cup," says Mr Carter.


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