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National wants to clip the wings on airline deal


National wants to clip the wings on airline deal

National’s promising to work with the export and tourism sectors, as well as other parties in Parliament, to stop the partial sale of Air New Zealand to Qantas.

“We want a strong Air New Zealand providing competitive fares and service, working in the interests of those crucial export and tourism sectors,” says National Party leader Bill English.

“This sale to one of its fiercest rivals doesn’t make sense.

“Labour’s decision to consider a Qantas buy in of Air New Zealand last year, helped scuttle a deal involving Singapore Airlines, “ says Mr English.

“And because Singapore didn’t bail out Air New Zealand - the taxpayer did!

“We spent hundreds of millions of dollars and now we’re selling an airline that’s just starting to get back on its feet,” says Mr English.

“Meanwhile, Qantas is likely to get a better deal than it would have done last year.

“No matter what the terms of sale, or what competition authorities say, we need to be asking if this is in the strategic interests of New Zealand,” says Mr English.

“The Government’s handled the bail-out with dithering incompetence and its remained silent during the sale process.

“Now using process as an excuse, Labour’s managing to cover up the bad calls it made during the bail-out.

“But now is the time of reckoning.

“Labour must spell out its policy, it must take a position, because almost no-one except Labour appears to support the sale.

“Air New Zealand needs long-term strategic viability, but any new shareholder must have this country’s interests at heart.

“There’s no way Qantas is buying up to 25% of our airline just to sit back and watch, when the other big shareholder is the New Zealand Government, which knows next to nothing about running an airline.

“Qantas has been trying to knock off Air New Zealand as a competitor for years and now it sees its chance.

“National wants to find out just what other parties think and it’s prepared to introduce a Private Members Bill, challenging them to join us and stop the sale,” says Mr English.


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