INDEPENDENT NEWS

Put Air NZ Qantas alliance out of its misery

Published: Thu 23 Oct 2003 10:17 AM
United Future urges Government to put the Air NZ Qantas alliance out of its misery
Government ally United Future today called on the Government to make it clear to Air NZ that it should quietly drop its proposed alliance with Qantas and move on.
Finance spokesperson Gordon Copeland said that debate over the price fixing and market sharing proposal between the two airlines has dragged on for over ten months.
“I think we are past time and the Government would do a service to air travellers and businesses by clearly stating it is time to call a halt.
“Things have changed since November 2002. I wonder, for example, whether the Government is still happy for our taxpayer owned airline to sell 22.5% of its shares at a price of just 44.5 cents per share when I read that today’s price is around 53 cents.
“That is a discount of 8.5 cents per share and amounts to a gift by the NZ taxpayer to an Australian airline of around $105 million. Does the Government have a mandate to give a gift of that size to a competing airline? I doubt it.
“The NZ Commerce Commission has delayed and delayed again its final determination even although its Australian equivalent ruled the deal out as anti-competitive more than one and a half months ago. So regardless of its decision today, isn’t it time to deliver the coup de grace and allow us all to focus on other options for the future of our airline?”

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