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Greens urge Cullen not to sell Air New Zealand

Greens urge Cullen not to sell Air New Zealand

Green co-leader Rod Donald today urged Finance Minister Michael Cullen to reject selling any of Air New Zealand to Qantas.

Following Air New Zealand's AGM yesterday, at which shareholders voiced opposition to Qantas gaining a stake in the airline, Mr Donald said if the airline required capital it should be opened up to investment from New Zealanders.

"Air New Zealand is much more than just an airline, it is a crucial strategic asset and an internationally recognised symbol of our national identity," said Mr Donald.

"Any sale of a part of Air New Zealand to the parasitic Qantas is a step towards effective Australian control of our national carrier."

Mr Donald said a strong, locally owned airline was important to the future of both trade and tourism in New Zealand.

"Air New Zealand takes our goods to the world and brings tourists to our country.

"It is so important that decisions regarding the airline are made in the best interests of New Zealand and the only way to ensure this is to guarantee that it stays in New Zealand ownership.

"We simply cannot afford to let a large stake of this crucial asset slip back into foreign ownership. Please don't sell our airline Dr Cullen!"

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