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Dunne demands plain speaking from Oz deputy PM


Dunne demands plain speaking from Oz deputy PM and Qantas

United Future New Zealand leader, Peter Dunne, today called on the Australian Deputy PM, John Anderson, and the management of Qantas to clarify what their real views are concerning the proposed Qantas takeover of Air New Zealand.

“A disturbing pattern appears to be emerging whereby New Zealanders are being told one story on this side of the Tasman and Australians are being told something quite different on the other side,” he said.

“Mr Anderson, commenting on the takeover, was reported on New Zealand radio earlier this week saying it was ‘in Australia’s interest to make sure many international airlines disappear over the next few years while Australia retains a strong flight carrier.’

“Subsequently, Mr Anderson’s press officer has contacted my office, claiming he said no such thing. I invite Mr Anderson to tell us what he really meant to say.

“Then there is the question of the alleged jobs benefit to New Zealand of this proposal,” said Mr Dunne. “On this side of the Tasman, we’re being told there could be 200 jobs coming here, but Mr Anderson said on November 25 that ‘Qantas has noted this deal does not mean the exporting of jobs from Australia’, a sentiment echoed by the Australian Service Workers Union.

“What’s the real story?” demanded Mr Dunne.

“The Air New Zealand PR machine is also telling us that under the new arrangements, Air New Zealand will still be run by New Zealanders for the benefit of New Zealanders.

“I’ve now seen reports that Qantas is telling Australian business analysts that they will always have the upper hand because one of two Qantas directors on the Air New Zealand board will always have to sign off major decisions and because Qantas will be seconding lower level management staff to work at Air New Zealand.

“All this to-ing and fro-ing and confusion over what the real story is resulted in an extraordinary scene yesterday when an angry John Palmer, chairman of Air New Zealand, arrived unannounced in my office yesterday, berated me for an hour demanding all sorts of retractions and then left.”

Mr Dunne said nothing he had heard this week had persuaded him that the takeover proposal was in the best interests of New Zealand and he repeated his hope that the Government and the Commerce Commission take heed of the mounting New Zealand opposition to the plan.


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