Air NZ's domestic fare price hike 'making it hard for New Zealanders to like the airline' - Consumer NZ

Consumer New Zealand says Air New Zealand is risking losing customers by raising its domestic fares by five per cent from tomorrow.

The national carrier cited rising fuel, goods, service and other prices in its decision, despite saying in February this year it was "on track for second highest profit in company history".

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin, speaking on TVNZ1's Breakfast today, said consumers should remember to shop around, and reminded people that they can vote with their choice of airline.

"They're allowed to put their prices up, they're in business, but are they ripping us off is probably another question," Ms Chetwin said.

"They will have all these reasons."

The airline is blaming rising fuel prices for hiking its prices five per cent. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Chetwin said the airline maintains a consumer-friendly public persona, but their recent actions seemed to contradict that, including dropping a number of regional routes.

"From a consumer perspective, they want us to think they're the great New Zealand airline, they look after us, they have schmultzy videos," she said.

"But they're also the airline that was duping us into paying for insurance until they were warned to stop it by the regulator.

"It's going to be hard for them to maintain that sort of family-friendly airline that we're all going to travel.

"They are making it hard for New Zealanders to like the airline."

In a press release on February 22, Air New Zealand said it was on track for the "second highest profit in company history", with earnings before taxation in the first six months of the 2018 financial year of $323m.

Their net profit was $232m and they raised the shareholder dividend 10 per cent.

Chairman Tony Carter said in the release: "Looking to the remainder of the year, we are optimistic about the overall market dynamics.

"Based upon the current market conditions and despite the increased price of jet fuel, the Company is still expecting 2018 earnings before taxation to exceed the prior year".

Sue Chetwin says the five per cent rise in domestic fares taking effect this week should be a reminder to people that alternatives exist. Source: Breakfast



Timaru fire being treated as suspicious

A building fire in Timaru this morning is being treated as suspicious.

Fire and Emergency NZ received a call out at around 5:45am to a building on the corner of Patiti Street and South Street.

On arrival they found two trucks and a shed next to it well ablaze.

Twelve fire fighters managed to extinguish the fire quickly.

Police and fire investigators have been called to the scene.

Fire generic
File picture. Source: 1 NEWS

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Almost 50 bus services in Auckland cancelled as drivers strike

Almost 50 bus services across Auckland are cancelled this morning due to industrial action by drivers.

Routes in the city's west are worst affected, as drivers of Pavlovich Coachlines walk off the job.

Auckland Transport advises that services will return to normal after 9am today.

Bus driver
Bus driver (file) Source: istock.com