20 November 2000
Air Travel In New Zealand And The Pacific Imperiled By Arrogance Within Airways-Peters
New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters today said, “Given the recent history of Airways New Zealand, in
particular, the supremely arrogant manner in which they have gone about promoting their self proclaimed expertise on the
world stage, I am not at all surprised that their present supplier, and the company upon which they have relied for
standards, is now considering legal action to reclaim equipment which is rightfully theirs.
“Thompson-CSF is a very large player in the air traffic control business throughout the world and it is entirely
understandable that they would wish to protect their good name and standing. Airways NZ must understand that in spite of
their somewhat grandiose plans and dreams, there is a real world out there with far bigger players who will not be
messed around with in the manner Airways have done so to date.
“The way in which the Board of Airways went about the gifting of millions of dollars of business to Lockheed Martin to
replace New Zealand’s air traffic control system without the courtesy of permitting Thompson-CSF to quote, let alone
Airways’ decision to not even open up for public tender, the supply for re-equipping with technology and hardware, was
outrageous. New Zealand can ill afford a major scandal of this sort with France. It is simply not necessary or
desirable. New Zealand Taxpayers are already being denied millions of dollars by way of return on their past investment,
through the actions of a small number of self styled high flyers, hell- bent on chasing ambitious international dreams,
whilst at home in NZ, basic things are not being attended to. The invitation given by the Minister for State Owned
Enterprises, Hon Mark Burton, to the company presently supplying air traffic control equipment in NZ, to sue Airways if
they had concerns, was equally unhelpful and demonstrative of what can occur when a “hands off” approach is taken to
serious matters, for which Ministers should be responsible and accountable,” said Mr Peters.
Mr Peters said that there now existed, the potential for serious a crisis within New Zealand, should Thompson-CSF
continue down the path they have indicated, which would be disastrous, plunging New Zealand into third world status
overnight, with no air travel possible, should their goodwill and equipment be withdrawn.