ANZ wants to make rival bid for Queenstown Airport

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Air New Zealand (ANZ) wants to put together a consortium to bid for a stake in Queenstown Airport, and stop a buy-in of the airport by Auckland International Airport (AIA).

AIA announced in early July it had reached an agreement with the airport's major owner, Queenstown Lakes District Council, to buy a 24.99% stake for NZ$27.7 million ($20 million) and that the two airports would work together.

ANZ has had long-running battles with AIA over airport fees and charges.

In its statement today it describes AIA as a greedy price gouger and says "ANZ would be willing to lead a consortium of airlines to take a cornerstone shareholding in Queenstown airport and commit to ensuring the cost of travel staying down."

"Allowing an airline to invest in Queenstown Airport would ensure one of New Zealand's most important infrastructure assets had the financial strength to grow," it says. Queenstown is a tourist town on New Zealand's south island.

ANZ says: "If a consortium arrangement does not eventuate then ANZ would be prepared to consider any proposal to contribute to or underwrite infrastructure development at Queenstown Airport."

ANZ also says it supports calls, by some local politicians, for an official investigation into AIA's proposed bid for Queenstown Airport.

Issues have emerged that warrant an official investigation, it says, adding that the Ombudsman or the Auditor General's office should be in charge of the investigation.