New Zealand First MP Shane Jones says Air New Zealand has "an obligation to look after Kiwis", and urged the national carrier not to hike up their prices after Jetstar airline announced their withdrawal from regional flights this week.
The Provincial Champion also expressed his disappointment at Jetstar’s decision on TVNZ1’s Breakfast talkshow: "I'm disappointed that choice has been stripped out of those regions," he said.
"They've made their own commercial decision. My message to our national carrier [Air NZ] is that there's a lot of brand equity in their name, there's a lot of goodwill - do not use this as an opportunity to gauge the day-to-day travellers, the business travelers.”
"I don't think they'll be surprised to hear me say this, but hey, I'm a retail politician and I've always stuck up for provincial New Zealand," the NZ First MP added.
Mr Jones also reminded the Breakfast hosts that the New Zealand taxpayer saved Air New Zealand in the past: "You and I, or our parents, as taxpayers bailed them out when they were on the brink of insolvency. So we should never ever forget we are substantial owners of Air New Zealand”.
"They have an obligation, in my view, to look after the Kiwis - not just down at the bottom of Queen Street, but throughout the provinces. I want Air New Zealand to look after our people,” he added.