Air NZ gives middle finger to Team New Zealand. Unpatriotic or good business?

Part of the grief process surrounding the America’s Cup loss is that all the bad news is now allowed to come out.

Air New Zealand denied help to Team New Zealand when they were building their America’s Cup catamaran – because the Kiwi sailors were sponsored by a rival airline.

But the national carrier, owned by our Government, was happy to help Oracle with their boat.

Air New Zealand says one of its guiding principles is to champion and promote New Zealand and its business.

An investigation by The Dominion Post can reveal that Team NZ approached the airline to use its carbon fibre manufacturing facility.

But senior Air New Zealand managers decided to deny their request.

Team NZ, sponsored by rival airline Emirates, wanted to pay to use Air New Zealand’s manufacturing division’s autoclave technology to produce components for their AC72 catamaran.

The airline had the only autoclave machinery in the country capable of producing the specific designs required by the Kiwi sailors.

But Air New Zealand senior management refused the request – partly on the basis it would be helping Emirates, which was sponsoring the challengers.

Air New Zealand isn’t in the business of hiring out its autoclave machinery.  The other undisclosed reasons may very well have included that the equipment was fully committed to other jobs, and the cost of delaying those, or missing deadlines on contracts would have been bad business.

Prime Minister John Key said that despite the fact that Air New Zealand was largely government-owned it acted as a commercial organisation and made decisions believed were in its best interests.

A spokesman for Finance Minister Bill English, a shareholding minister in Air New Zealand, said the decision about helping any syndicate was a matter for the airline.

The Air New Zealand spokeswoman said the airline had been “strongly supportive” of Team NZ, with a commercial arrangement to reduce its travel costs during the cup campaign.

“The airline is grateful for the efforts of all Team New Zealand’s sponsors, as a successful regatta has driven strong passenger traffic on our Auckland-San Francisco route.

“It goes without saying that Team New Zealand sailors and shore staff have been some of Air New Zealand’s most regular customers on the route.”

Air New Zealand had supported America’s Cup campaigns for around two decades, the spokeswoman said. Internal discussions were already under way at the airline to study whether it could “play a role” in a future Team NZ cup challenge.

Perhaps they did lose a chance for some good exposure.  It can also be a good commercial decision to generate positive PR.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

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