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Air NZ sends signal of Dunedin downgrade

David Clark
MP for Dunedin North

Clare Curran
MP for Dunedin South

4 February 2014

Air NZ sends signal of Dunedin downgrade

Air New Zealand’s decision to cut a major direct flight between Dunedin and Auckland will hurt the local business community and is a clear market signal that Dunedin is not seen as a growth centre, say Labour Dunedin MPs David Clark and Clare Curran.

“The axed link contradicts claims by John Key and Steven Joyce that Dunedin and regional New Zealand was doing perfectly well under their Government,” says David Clark.

“The market has made it clear that it has little confidence in the Government’s commitment to sustainable growth in Dunedin,” says David Clark.

“Last September John Key insisted there was no evidence to show Dunedin's economy was in trouble. How wrong he was,” says Clare Curran.

“I understand Air New Zealand’s decision to cut the last daily flight from Auckland to Dunedin is a recognition from within the company that Dunedin is the ‘last cab off the rank’ when considering the impact of changing their fleet of 737s to A320s.

“If that's not a clear market signal and evidence of a two speed economy operating in our country I don't know what is.

“We will be talking to the Dunedin business community and seeking an urgent meeting with Air New Zealand to discuss the impact of these changes and whether they signal future cuts to air services.

“Dunedin cannot and should not risk becoming a backwater for air services. There isn't a clearer sign that we are at risk of just that happening by this latest move,” says Clare Curran.

David Clark says, National's silence indicates a clear division between the main parties. “It signals one front where the election year battle will be fought. While National seems content to manage decline in the regions, Labour recognises that for New Zealand to succeed we need all our regions to succeed.

"Labour is aspirational for all New Zealanders,” says David Clark.

ENDS

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