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Maori Party Concerned By Air NZ Job Losses

Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party

19 October 2005

As the new Government celebrated the swearing in of its Ministers at Government House, unionists were reeling at the devastating announcements of mass job losses with Air New Zealand.

"This will be the first test for the Labour-led Government" stated Tariana Turia.

"The Labour Party has grown out of the union movement. Given the massive support of the unions over the years I am sure there will be an expectation for the Government to intervene, particularly as it is a majority shareholder in Air New Zealand".

"There will be many workers that are shell-shocked at the impact of a loss of such scale, and will be expecting the Government to provide immediate support".

"The tragic irony can not escape us that as the Combined Trade Unions ended its biennial conference in Wellington, Air New Zealand was announcing cuts of 600 jobs from a highly skilled, specialist workforce".

"All New Zealanders will feel the impact of this decision, as 600 families are laid off, in preference for cheaper workers in Asia and Europe".

"There are huge questions to be asked about :

* the decision to turn to the global market rather than retaining local expertise;

* what impact this decision will have on safety and standards of aircraft maintenance; and

* why Air New Zealand - and its majority shareholder - have allowed the company to get to such a state that it expects profit to fall by more than half in the 2006 year" said Mrs Turia.

"The Maori Party will be taking these issues up with the Government as a matter of urgency".

ENDS

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