QANTAS WANTS STAKE IN RIVAL AIR NEW ZEALAND

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Radio Australia, Feb. 13) - The New Zealand government has released Treasury documents that show top-level concern about the proposal by Australian carrier Qantas to buy a stake in its smaller rival, Air New Zealand

The New Zealand government is supporting Qantas's bid to buy a 22.5 percent stake in air New Zealand.

Officials have warned that Qantas could exert significant influence over New Zealand's national carrier, making it difficult for the smaller partner to protect its autonomy.

Opposition Leader Bill English says the government should block the sale. "The papers show just what everyone suspected, Qantas will have an iron grip on air New Zealand even though they're only paying for a quarter of it."

The New Zealand government still says the sale should go ahead.

February 13, 2003

Radio Australia: http://abc.net.au/ra 

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