Air New Zealand sell-down puts a national asset at risk

18 November, 2013

The government’s sell-down of its current shares in Air New Zealand threatens the security of our national airline and workers’ wages and conditions, says the union for aviation workers, the EPMU.

“Air New Zealand is an important strategic asset,” says EPMU national secretary Bill Newson.  “It’s already been saved once by government intervention after private mismanagement.  We shouldn’t put it at risk in pursuit of short-term gains for the government.

“Airlines operate in an unpredictable market and having the government as a principal owner ensures the country has a viable trade and tourism link to the world.”

The EPMU is concerned the sell down will add more pressure on Air New Zealand to return higher dividends, which may come from cuts to workers’ wages and conditions.

“Air New Zealand has been doing good work investing in its fleet and setting itself up for the future.  We don’t want to see that work go to waste.

“This sell-down will see money which could be invested into our national airline going into the pockets of a handful of private shareholders.

Air New Zealand is currently operating at a profit and returning good dividends to the government.

“The capital generated by this sell-down won’t even be re-invested into the company.  It will go to patching up the holes in the government’s accounts.

“It makes no sense to cash out of an important strategic asset at exactly the time it’s paying off for the country.”

 

ENDS

 

For more information contact:

Bill Newson, EPMU national secretary: 0275 384 246
Stephanie Rodgers, EPMU communications officer: 022 269 1170