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Air NZ too frightened to fly solo

Air NZ too frightened to fly solo

Green co-leader Rod Donald today accused the Government of being panicked into selling a key stake in Air New Zealand to Qantas.

"Air New Zealand is quite rightly terrified of its traditional trans-Tasman rival," said Rod Donald. "But since when has fear been a good reason for entering any kind of relationship?

"It is illogical to build a close relationship with the competitor you dread the most.

"The Government has made this decision in a few weeks. Unfortunately, the people of New Zealand will have to live with the consequences for years. The Commerce Commission - with much narrower terms of reference - is taking at least six months to consider the deal."

Rod Donald said the proper course would have been for the Government to call for submissions from tourism operators, exporters and the public and to take account of those views in deciding what is in our national interest.

"Opponents of this deal have focussed narrowly on the loss of competition for the travelling public. Our concerns are not with the loss of competition but with the loss of sovereignty - the loss of control over the airline that has carried our name around the world.

"A strategic stake in Air New Zealand will give Qantas two seats on the board, with power to block any board resolution, as well as joint control of all services and fares. Former Air NZ boss, Jim Scott remembers very well what happened to board decisions the last time the Australians held an interest: 'Qantas sat at the table and dorked us.'

"New Zealanders are proud of their national carrier, never wanted it sold off in the first place and supported its buy-back. How proud can we all be now, of an airline too scared to fly without Qantas in the cockpit?"


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