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Govt won’t disturb Commerce Commission decision

23 October 2003 Media Statement

Govt won’t disturb Commerce Commission decision

Finance Minister Michael Cullen today reaffirmed the government’s determination not to over-ride the normal competition tests in relation to the Air New Zealand-Qantas deal.

“We made it clear at the outset when we supported the proposal going to the Commerce Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that final approval would depend on clearance by both authorities and that the government would not intervene in that process.

“That remains the position,” Dr Cullen said.

He was commenting on the Commerce Commission’s rejection of the proposed strategic alliance on the grounds that it was anti-competitive. The ACCC also rejected it in a judgment handed down last month.

Both airlines have appealed the ACCC’s decision to the Australian Competition Tribunal and will now be considering whether to take similar action here, although the New Zealand framework allows appeals primarily on points of law rather than matters of substance.

“Whether Air New Zealand and Qantas exercise their right of appeal is entirely to them to decide.

“The challenge is now for Air New Zealand to consider carefully the range of options available to it as it seeks to protect its long-term viability as a domestic and international carrier,” Dr Cullen said.

ENDS

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