Air NZ focusing on profit, not people - Shane Jones

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

Air New Zealand has pulled out of yet another rohe and it has left Shane Jones annoyed.  

The regional development minister says the inconvenience that it will cause will have a direct effect on regional economic development.

The issue has arisen after Air New Zealand announced that they will be withdrawing from Kāpiti.  

Jones says the move hinders Labour's regional development plans.  Last week he began distributing funds to the regions including Northland and Minginui. 

Furthermore, he has committed a $1.7mil contribution to the development of the Bay of Islands airport.

Jones says, "That's my fear- what about happens to the rural residents if the regions are left out, what happens to the regional funds?"

Even though the Crown is a 53% shareholder the prime minister says they won't be interfering in the decisions that Air New Zealand make.  She also supported Jones by saying that as a shareholding minister he has a right to his opinion.

Jones says he won't be backing down over the issue.  He doesn't believe that there is enough regard for people in the regions.  

Less than a year ago Air New Zealand recorded a $527mil profit.