3 Jul 2011

Airline quits association over Thompson comments

11:30 am on 3 July 2011

Air New Zealand has pulled out of the Northern Employers and Manufacturers Association in the wake of comments made by the association's chief executive, Alasdair Thompson.

Mr Thompson's future with the organisation is being considered by the board after he suggested women earned less than men because they took time off for their periods.

Air New Zealand says its membership was due to be renewed on Friday but it will not be rejoining.

In a message to staff, the company's chief executive, Rob Fyfe, said he had been questioned about why Air New Zealand was still a member of the association when its head had suggested women were less productive.

Mr Thompson has already stood down from Auckland Council's business advisory group, which is made up of prominent Auckland business leaders.

Business New Zealand chief executive Phil Broughton says his organisation is disappointed at Air New Zealand's move, which came as a surprise.

He would not speculate on whether Mr Thompson should remain in his job.