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Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges

Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis.

"I’m inviting Mr Bridges to come to Kaitaia – by plane - and then tell those people not to worry. 

“The Far North is a huge area. People from Te Hapua, north of Kaitaia, already have a two hour drive to their nearest airport. They now face a six hour return drive to Kerikeri Airport, meaning a business trip to Wellington will include a 3am wake up call.

“Air New Zealand has totally ignored the impact their decision will have on the Far North region.

“Our transport infrastructure is totally knackered: Our roads are a mess, rail is non-existent and now we no longer have flights into Kaitaia. 

“For some years now iwi and businesses have taken a step forward in terms of economic development, and then a decision like this knocks them back.

“The regions have held NZ together through the hard times. There aren't too many dairy farms in the main centres, not too much agriculture, apiculture, horticulture, aquaculture, viticulture.

“In fact the only culture the Far North is seeing is the culture where massive profits are more important than any corporate responsibility in trying to grow communities,” Kelvin Davis said.