We’re the foreigners there


There’s more than enough xenophobes here opposed to immigration and foreign ownership of land and businesses.

But that sentiment isn’t confined to this side of the Tasman.

We’re the foreigners there and it’s not just dairy companies that some locals object to New Zealanders buying.

Qantas is opposing Air New Zealand’s plan to increase its investment in Virgin Australia.

Air NZ world’s best


When I first left New Zealand, 30 years ago this week, I had a one way ticket to Britain with several stops en route.

By the time I got there I’d flown Air New Zealand, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Air Alitalia and British Airways.

Coming home I flew Air New Zealand and Air France.

Since then I’ve used most of them again plus, Air Pacific,  Garuda,  Aerolineas Argentinas, Lan Chile, United, Air Canada, Thai Airways, Lufthansa, Spanair, British Midland and a few smaller ones whose names – perhaps mercifully – I’ve forgotten.

The only one I wouldn’t use again is Garuda, though Air Canada’s service on a flight from Vancouver to Honolulu last year was sub-optimal.

The one I’d choose to use where possible is Air New Zealand. I’ve had only one bad experience – poor communication over a delayed flight to Fiji – and lots of very good ones with them.

Of course parochialism might have something to do with my preference but Air New Zealand has been recognised as airline of the year.

Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key has congratulated Air New Zealand on again being named Airline of the Year by ‘Air Transport World’ magazine.

“Air New Zealand was named Airline of the Year in January 2010, and to gain this honour twice in three years is an outstanding achievement,” says Mr Key.

“The award is for Air New Zealand’s industry-leading innovation and motivation of its staff, which has resulted in exceptional performance in many areas, such as customer service, operational safety, and financial performance.

“The award is an acknowledgement of the hard work the airline’s staff and management have put into the company.

“Air New Zealand is a vital part of our tourism infrastructure. Often, the first experience incoming visitors have of New Zealand is with the national carrier, and those first impressions count.

Most foreigners travel very long distances to get here. Even if they don’t use Air New Zealand for international flights many will for internal travel. Having an airline which is top for service and safety is good for them and our reputation as a tourist destination.

This isn’t what we want to catch up with


The protracted dispute between Qantas and unions which has led to the grounding of the company’s entire fleet is an example of something we don’t want to catch up with.

No-one wins from action like this.

Travellers are inconvenienced, freight is held up, staff  lose pay and the company loses money and customers.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say something like this couldn’t happen here, but it is less likely to.

Some on the left are under the mistaken impression that stronger unions are one of the reasons that Australia’s economy does better than ours.

On the contrary, it would do even better if they had more flexible employment laws like we do.

Banana campaign is bananas


An Australian wasn’t happy when she discovered a foreign banana in the breakfast Qantas served to her on a flight home from New Zealand.

Toni Rogers says she’s shocked the national carrier is serving bananas from the Philippines given the amount of media coverage the imports issue has had.. . . 

“It was also the fact that it was Qantas, if it was Air New Zealand I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought,” Ms Rogers says. . .

“That’s probably what concerned me more than anything else, Qantas was serving Filipino bananas in preference to our local growers,” Ms Rogers says.

She was also worried about how the bananas are disposed of and the potential quarantine threat they may posse people get them through airprot quarantine systems.

The Australian banana industry says it’s comfortable with the checks and balances in place to ensure fresh fruit doesn’t breach border biosecurity.

It’s more concerned about why the national carrier isn’t serving Australian bananas on trans-Tasman flights.

CEO Tony Heidrich says given the publicity surrounding the Philippine banana imports, this could be potentially damaging to Qantas. . .

“I think any Australian would like to see our national carrier supporting Australian industries, just as Australians try and support Qantas on the routes they operate.”

If the banana industry isn’t concerned about biosecurity breaches the issue isn’t fear of pests and disseases it’s nationalism.

The national airline should carry the nation’s produce, right? Not necessarily, there are other factors to keep in mind including cost and the trade implications.

If Australian bananas are more expensive would passengers still want them to be supplied in preference to bananas, or any other fruit, from elsewhere? And if they want Australian bananas on Australian planes will they accept that airlines from other countries favour produce from their own producers rather than from Australia?

New Zealand and Australia have the strictest biosecurity border controls I’ve encountered and for very good reaons. We’re both surrounded by sea with no very close neighbours which should make it easier to keep out unwanted pests and diseases, and primary industry is very important to our economies.

But we both need to be very careful about pretending to play the biosecurity card when what were really doing is playing the protectionist one.

Buying local pulls the heartstrings, but it’s not necessarily best.

Hat Tip: Larvatus Prodeo   , go on click on it because something which starts with: Everyone knows that Kiwis constantly try to subvert our Australian way of life. They did it, for example by sending us Jo Bjelke-Petersen back in 1913 and then again with Russell Crowe. . . . is worth reading 🙂

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