Stuff Limited has called Air New Zealand's decision to no longer offer Koru Lounge customers a newspaper for sustainability reasons "disappointing", saying their papers are as sustainable as they come.
The airline has told Koru Lounge customers that, as of July 1, it will no longer offer complimentary copies of the newspaper, citing its "committment to sustainability".
Stuff publishes The Dominion Post, The Press and the Sunday Star Times, and Stuff chief executive Sinead Boucher said she was "surprised" to hear of Air New Zealand's decision.
"While Air New Zealand obviously has the right to make whatever commercial decisions it sees fit, I must admit we were very surprised to hear they were cancelling the newspapers for reasons of sustainability," Ms Boucher said in an article on Stuff.
"We were also really concerned that the message to their customers in the lounges said the decision was linked to sustainability and that therefore the extrapolation is that our papers must be bad for the environment."
Ms Boucher hit back, saying "not a single tree is cut down to make our papers".
"One hundred per cent of the paper used is made from waste byproduct," Ms Boucher said.
"Our ink is made from vegetable oil and tree sap, which is biodegradable."
However, in a statement to 1 NEWS, Air New Zealand General Manager Customer Experience Nikki Goodman said the decision to remove the newspapers is "two-fold".
"Firstly, we have seen a decline in customers seeking out newspapers as more gather their news from multiple sources through their digital channels on mobile devices," Ms Goodman said.
"Secondly, we have a well-publicised commitment to improving our sustainability efforts right across the airline to minimise our environmental impact."
Ms Goodman said Air New Zealand distributes "an estimated 33,000kgs of newspapers as cargo to various lounges around the country every day" which "contributes a significant amount to our annual fuel burn and carbon emissions".