25 Nov 2014

Mayor walks out of Air NZ meeting

3:48 pm on 25 November 2014

The rural representative for Local Government New Zealand walked out of a meeting today with Air New Zealand when it refused to reconsider its closure of some regional services.

Opotiki mayor John Forbes said he turned up to the meeting with the perception that he was entering consultation with the airline. Instead, he said its representatives said the door is shut on some services.

Mr Forbes said he was disappointed that the company, which was bailed out by the taxpayer in 2001, has failed to talk to representatives of rural communities with an open mind.

"I think Air New Zealand should be ashamed of themselves, they're the national carrier and they are not understanding the impacts that they're having on communities.

"They're not even coming to talk to us about what sorts of impacts they're having, and if they can't understand that, how can that inform their decision making?"

From April next year, Air New Zealand would stop flights from Kaitaia and Whakatane to Auckland, as well as services from Wellington to Whangarei, Taupo and Westport, and the Palmerston North to Nelson route.

Hamilton to Auckland would finish in 2016.

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