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Mother Of Five Seeks Virgin

Sunday 26 August 2001

- JO COUGHLAN -

Mother of five and Wellington City Council Lambton Ward candidate, Jo Coughlan, today said that Wellington needs Virgin Blue to fly to and from the city.

"If Wellington is to be a place where we can have rewarding careers, more jobs, and a great place to raise a family, it is vital that the city is well served by excellent air links to not only the rest of NZ but the world.

"In the late 80's and early 90's we were poorly served with air links especially to Australia. That was part of the mix that led to Wellington losing head offices. It was just a hassle to go to Australia.

"Increasingly, Australia is becoming more important to Wellington business and organisations. Virgin Blue offers the city an exciting opportunity to provide competition in terms of both cost and timetables.

"And as Wellington becomes more cosmopolitan, vibrant and exciting, why should we make it hard for Australians to come an enjoy the city for a break, or some much needed culture!

"I am writing to Transport Minister Mark Gosche seeking an assurance that he and his Government are doing all in their power to ensure that Virgin Blue is able to provide air services to and from Wellington.

The New Zealand and Australian Governments signed an Open Skies Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on November 20 2000. This formalises the Single Aviation Market (SAM) agreement signed in 1996. An application was received by the Government from Virgin Blue to operate in New Zealand on May 14 this year.

"I know that these things may not always be simple, but where there is a will there is a way. The question is does this Government have the will?" Ms Coughlan concluded.

Ms Coughlan said that she would keep Wellingtonians up to date with the response from Mr Gosche.

Contact: Jo Coughlan 04 972 44 37, 021 522 142

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