March 27, 2018
Air NZ exit opens routes for Maori carrier
National list MP Nuk Korako says the withdrawal of Air New Zealand from some smaller regions has created opportunities for Maori-owned businesses.
Mr Korako says while there are some New Zealanders who share Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones' frustration with the national airline's decision to cut services to centres like Whanganui, Whakatane, and Kapiti, his criticisms of the company's board and senior executives were out of line.
He says there is no government subsidy for the airline, so it must make tough decisions in the interests of its shareholders.
Other carriers have stepped in to fill the gap, such as Air Chathams.
"Air Chathams is actually run by Duane Emery who is Ngati Mutunga and his mother was good Pitt Island stock. We've got our own people as players in those small regional markets. You've got Sounds Air as well. I think we should be concentrating on looking at that sort of development as well when we talkk about air routes into the regions," Mr Korako says.
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