Air New Zealand Goes Begging
Air New Zealand is threatening to reduce or eliminate air service from the United States to Tonga, Samoa, and the Cook Islands unless the island governments pay the airline subsidies. The New Zealand Government owns a 75 percent share in Air New Zealand and both entities have received criticism for undermining economic development in countries which are recipients of New Zealand overseas aid. Air New Zealand's mercenary approach underscores French Polynesia's perspicacious decision to create Air Tahiti Nui in 1996 so as not to be dependent on the whims of overseas carriers. Air New Zealand's main objective is to deliver tourists to Auckland and the South Pacific islands only enter this equation if they support that goal. Anyone who has experienced middle-of-the-night arrivals or departures at Papeete, Rarotonga, or Nadi on Air New Zealand will understand the approach. Convenient morning arrivals and evening departures from Auckland are all that matters.