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Govt has hand in huge Air NZ loss


Bill English National Finance Spokesperson

12 September 2001

Govt has hand in huge Air NZ loss

It is not good enough for the Government to be spending all its time trying to cover its tracks as D-day arrives for Air New Zealand, National's Finance spokesperson Bill English said today.

"Three months ago there were a lot more options for Air New Zealand and the Government must carry responsibility for today's situation where Air New Zealand is casting around for any last minute interest.

"Air New Zealand's commercial decisions have clearly turned out badly but the Government's continued dithering and its penchant for blaming everyone else have certainly made the results of those commercial decisions worse.

"When Michael Cullen says the Government will have to clean up the mess the company has got itself into, he demonstrates he still does not understand the commercial risks of the airline business. The Government has its own part to play in the mess by involving itself in the commercial affairs of all the Australian airlines.

"When Air New Zealand announces a huge loss tomorrow everyone will know that if the Labour Government had made a quick early decision about the foreign ownership cap this loss would have been smaller, and mum and dad shareholders in Air New Zealand would have been better off.

"Along with the misjudgements of Air New Zealand the behaviour of the Government in this has done enormous damage to New Zealand's credibility in Australia," Mr English said.

Ends


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