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Government Misled Public Over Air New Zealand Sell

Government Misled Public Over Air New Zealand Sellout

Today's release of Government papers on the Qantas/Air New Zealand merger shows the Government has been playing a tricky little game for months with the public over this issue, says National's Transport Spokesperson Roger Sowry.

"Papers clearly show that a draft proposal was with the Minister of Finance, Michael Cullen, before the election. And yet during the election campaign the Prime Minister insisted that the Government had no knowledge of any proposed merger," said Mr Sowry.

"Papers show that interested parties initially wanted the deal signed up before the July election. One can only surmise that Labour scuttled this plan knowing a deal such as this politically unpopular decided to put things on the slow burner until just before Christmas."

"Labour has long had an agenda of selling a chunk of Air New Zealand to Qantas. Ministers knew such a deal was on the table, and even saw draft proposals. Yet they continued to deceive the public for months."

"It is also worrying that the Government has approved the deal in principle, given the warnings from Treasury about the access to commercially sensitive information that Qantas secondees will. If the Alliance falls apart at some later date, Qantas will walk away with vital information."

"It is simply unacceptable. Not only is the deal bad, but the Government misled New Zealanders about its involvement in it, and knows Qantas can commercially disadvantage Air New Zealand through it," says Roger Sowry.

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