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Engineering part of Air NZ's value

19 December 2005

Engineering part of Air NZ's value as a strategic asset

Air New Zealand's continuation of talks with the unions is welcome, but sending its engine work off-shore suggests it still isn't seeing the country's long-term strategic capacity as a priority, Green Party Industrial Relations Spokesperson Sue Bradford says.

"Today's announcement is a mixed bag, but on balance it gives some cause for optimism that some of this engineering capacity will be retained," Ms Bradford says.

"In taking the business case put forward by the EPMU and the Aviation and Marine Engineers' Association seriously, the airline is demonstrating a willingness to listen to unions that is reassuringly mature.

"However, this is about more than simply maintaining a growing profit margin and dividend in the short term.

"The Labour-led Government bailed out Air New Zealand because it was widely accepted to be a strategic asset for the country. Closing down one of the critical capacities of that asset is therefore clearly not in the country's best interest.

"There is still time for the Government to answer the call made by our late Co-Leader Rod Donald back in October and to take a smaller dividend.

"For a remote country dependent on tourism and aspiring to build a knowledge-based economy, the value of maintaining the long-established investment in this sort of engineering capacity should be self-evident," Ms Bradford says.

ENDS

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