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National promises bumpy ride for Qantas deal

National promises bumpy ride for Qantas deal

Qantas must be laughing all the way to the bank after the deal they’ve stitched up with Air New Zealand, according to National Party leader Bill English.

“What we’ve been told by Air New Zealand today, differs somewhat from what the Australian airline’s been saying across the ditch,” Mr English says.

“This deal is far worse for New Zealand than anyone could have predicted, after buying a 22.5% share in the company, Qantas will in fact get an equal say in how the operation is run.

“Qantas information released in Australia shows Air New Zealand will be run by a ‘co-ordinating group’ with equal representation from each airline,” says Mr English.

“Competition will be the first casualty. Air New Zealand will be in the driver’s seat on domestic routes.

“It’ll be able to set prices to keep rivals out of the market, with no fear of pressure from Qantas.

“National realises the company needs a capital injection but believes the airline should have gone further afield in its search for a partner.

“To make matters worse the Labour Government’s hiding behind process.

“Parliament is unlikely to get the chance to debate this important issue,” says Mr English.

But National’s now looking at ways to get the issue on the agenda, calling for a snap debate and it’s drafting a Private Members Bill.

“I plan to speak to other political leaders and we’re also looking at ways to mobilise the public and industry groups against the sale,” Mr English says.

“National’s already put together a web-site so the public can register their opposition to the sale - that’ll be online later tonight; the address is http://www.noqantas.co.nz <http://www.noqantas.co.nz>.

“On top of that we will bring together exporters and tourism operators affected by this deal.

“Air New Zealand and the Government will tell you this is a good deal, the best they could get - we say what’s good for the Government as a shareholder is not good for the country,” says Mr English.

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