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Mike's Minute: Air NZ Saudi issue is selective outrage

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 11 Feb 2021, 9:46am

Mike's Minute: Air NZ Saudi issue is selective outrage

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 11 Feb 2021, 9:46am

If you want to deal in fact, as in real numbers, the hypocrisy of the Air New Zealand Saudi scandal is laid bare.

This was a $3 million contract. A contract so small the CEO didn’t even know about it.

And yet the yapping was yet again a display of how a small introspective country like ours gets so easily side-tracked on issues of little importance, and certainly no consistency.

This went all the way to the Prime Minister who said it failed the sniff test. Her sniff credentials, sadly, have been shot to pieces this week on Trevor Mallard. If anything fails the sniff test, it's him. So that makes her an opportunist at best, more realistically a hypocrite.

As for Golriz Ghahraman, who screeched war crimes, ask her sometime how Mr Bikindi is, or Mr Karadzic. Happy to be ropeable at an airline, perhaps not so critical of her own actions, another hypocrite.

I must say Air New Zealand's back-down was a sign, sadly of the age. Not just an investigation, which is fair enough given the new CEO knew nothing of this work, but a cancellation of the contract, and a bag of bits from the remaining unworked engine bundled into a bubble bag and sent back to the Saudis.

Be as exercised as you want about the work, but a deal is a deal. A simpering cancellation is a breach, it's bad faith, and bad business. Don't take any more work if that’s the way you want to play it, but finish what you said you would.

Back to the numbers, $753,256,176. That’s what we sell the Saudis every year. Where is the outrage? Where are the cancellations? The boycotts? The barricades?

$406,066,414, that's what we buy off them each and every year. So, in other words, well over $1 billion in two-way business every year, with the very same people that caused so many to be gobsmacked, outraged, and apoplectic over a $3 million deal.

Which is it? Are we dealing with them or not? Do we cancel everything with everyone who does stuff we don’t favour of? Or do we just do it with people who we barely deal with anyway? Like Myanmar.

Why, when the Chinese do a series of things we can barely stomach, do we march forward with $20 billion worth of free trade? Not just that, but we just finished upgrading our FTA a week or so back. We love the Chinese, or do we?

If we did $20 billion worth of business with Myanmar, would we still be cancelling contact? Of course not.

The hypocrisy is outrageous. The shock and horror over Air New Zealand is pathetic. The world at times, and in places, is ugly. But we still have to be in it, work with it, and make our way.

Foe upset is for the deluded hand wringer who wants to pretend they're above the rest of us.

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