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Appointment Welcomed

Finance Minister Michael Cullen today endorsed the appointment of John Palmer as Air New Zealand Chairman saying he had the right skills for the job.

Dr Cullen also thanked Dr Jim Farmer, QC for leading Air New Zealand through an extraordinarily difficult period at substantial personal cost. “He took on the responsibility knowing what it would involve and is to be respected for that decision.”

The co-option of two additional board members, and Dr Cullen’s approval of same, was provided for in the Heads of Agreement negotiated between the Crown and the airline as part of the October rescue package.

Roger France, a consultant and former Senior Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers and a member of the Market Surveillance Panel of the New Zealand Stock Exchange, was co-opted to the board on 4 October.

“Air New Zealand is one of our most significant pieces of infrastructure so it is important to the whole economy that it performs well. The recapitalisation programme was a vital first step to returning the company to peak performance.

“But to complete the process, we need to ensure we have the strongest possible leadership at board level,” Dr Cullen said.

Mr Palmer chairs three companies: Wrightson Ltd, Saxton Fruit Ltd and Nelson Fruit Services Ltd. He also holds a number of directorships including on the AMP Bank Ltd and Cold Storage Nelson Ltd.

He chaired the New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board during the period immediately following the industry crisis in 1992 and was a director of Trustbank at the time of its merger with Westpac Banking Corporation.

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