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Special Chinese Airline Deal – The Reasons Don't Stack Up

Rt Hon Winston Peters

New Zealand First Leader

18 November 2012

Special Chinese Airline Deal – The Reasons Don't Stack Up

New Zealand First says the Government must explain why it has given China Southern Airlines (CSA) frequent flyer club members an exclusive Sky City gambler visa deal even though the airline holds less than 15 per cent of the market.

Latest Statistics New Zealand data shows that of the 186,768 Chinese nationals who came to New Zealand in the 12 months to September 2012, fewer than 24,000 arrived on CSA whose flights travel direct to this country exclusively from Guangzhou.

The data also revealed that the great majority of Chinese tourists – just over 100,000 – came via Australia.

Rt Hon Winston Peters says the Government must come clean on why CSA’s frequent fliers are able to dodge visa checks and head directly to Auckland’s Sky City casino.

“The Government is kow-towing to the Chinese Communist Government-owned CSA by weakening our border security when the airline is only a bit-player in the market?

“It is already clear that Prime Minister John Key must have been involved in discussions with Sky City over the shonky extra pokie machines for convention centre deal.

“Mr Key, who is also the Tourism Minister, must also have had input into this outrageous gambler visa deal which sets a dangerous precedent for our border security. As minister it’s his job to know.

“Something sinister is going on here which warrants a full investigation.”

Mr Peters says there is evidence that CSA has been selling some return tickets to New Zealand from China for as low as $400. That puts paid to the wealthy high roller argument.

“Sky City and the Prime Minister have indicated that they are chasing high-roller Chinese gamblers but these cut-price airfares put an end to that theory.

“The dots that are John Key, Sky City, the pokies for convention centre backroom deal, and one airline from China are being connected.

“The picture being created is of sordid, exclusive backroom dealings which are unpalatable to ordinary New Zealanders.

“On 30 June 2013, the Anti-Money Laundering And Countering Financing Of Terrorism (AM CST) Act 2009 comes into effect, something this Government seems blissfully unaware of,” says Mr Peters.

ENDS

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