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Kiwi travellers still lose in revamped air deal

Kiwi travellers still lose in revamped air deal

The Kiwi traveller can take no comfort from the re-shaping of the deal that would give Qantas a big stake in New Zealand's national airline, according to the National Party.

"The National Party said right from the outset that this proposal was anti-competitive, our initial assessment has been proved correct," says National Party Transport spokesman Roger Sowry.

"Nothing has happened in the past couple of days that would see us change that opinion," Mr Sowry says. "Despite claims to the contrary, the consortium is giving up very little.

"Freedom Air isn't a large brand and its biggest success is in the provincial flights to Australia, but those aren't affected by the deal," Mr Sowry says.

"It's telling that Air New Zealand is giving up something while Qantas gives up nothing, " says National Party Associate Transport spokesman John Key.

"I suspect that's a sign of things to come if the deal does get the green light.

"These changes will cost Qantas and Air New Zealand virtually nothing, to describe the concessions as significant is an exaggeration," Mr Key says.

"And when their self imposed 18 month fare truce ends, any new entrant to the market could then become the target of predatory pricing as the big players look to regain dominance.

"That's hardly an open invitation to Virgin Blue, says Mr Key.

"The National Party is still not convinced this deal is in the best interests of New Zealanders, the New Zealand Government as shareholders, or the travelling public," says Mr Sowry.

"The competition watch-dogs on both sides of the Tasman now have to agree," Mr Sowry says.

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