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Air NZ’s future paramount

Air NZ’s future paramount

Progressive Coalition leader Jim Anderton says that ensuring the long term success of Air New Zealand is behind the Labour Progressive Government’s agreement to allow the Air NZ / Qantas proposal to proceed to the Commerce Commissions on both sides of the Tasman.

“After coming to the financial rescue of Air New Zealand last year, today’s announcement from the Labour Progressive Government shows us that the long-term success of Air New Zealand continues to remain paramount to us,” said Jim Anderton.

“The proposal is for Qantas to pay $500 million for a 22.5 per cent minority shareholding in Air New Zealand which will still have a majority New Zealand Government ownership of 64 per cent, if it receives approval from regulatory authorities on both sides of the Tasman.

“If the alliance with Qantas proceeds it will reinforce the need for New Zealand Governments to continue to have a controlling stake in the airline for the indefinite future.

“This is because a New Zealand Government majority shareholding is the best way to guarantee continuing New Zealand control of Air NZ.

“Airlines around the world are facing tough times and the long term success of Air New Zealand as an international and domestic airline depends on investment and strategic partnerships. If these do not occur future funding from the New Zealand Government alone will be at the expense of much needed public investment in education, health and other essential services.

“I have always supported a New Zealand owned airline, and did so to my own personal cost in the 1980s. This move will help ensure that we continue to have a national airline which flies the New Zealand flag around the world,” said Jim Anderton.

Jim Anderton, who is also the Minister for Economic Development, stressed that if the proposal is significantly altered during the assessment process or new information emerges, it will need to be reassessed.

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