Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Air New Zealand bailout

Stuff reports that the government is going to have to throw $2 - 3 billion at Air new Zealand to get it through the pandemic. Good. While international routes are basicly closed, Air New Zealand is a strategic asset which is vital to our tourism industry, not to mentioning airfreight. We need it keep functioning to ship in medical supplies, and we need it to still be there when this is all over, so it is entirely appropriate that the government steps in. And the fact that we'll end up owning more of it in the process is even better.

At the same time though, its worth pointing out: despite successive efforts at privatisation, we end up having to do this every 20 years or so. We sold it in the 80's, reacquired it as part of a $885 million bailout in 2001, sold it down again under Key in the 2010s, and now we're reacquiring it again. While that reacquisition protects the strategic asset - that's why we do it - it also protects the wealth of the parasites who have bought into this company, which doesn't sit so well. Given that we just keep having to do this, isn't it time we cut them out entirely and simply renationalised it completely?