My life seems to have be dominated by aircraft and air travel over the past week. On Waitangi Day I flew with the Prime Minister, five Cabinet Ministers, 50 Business Leaders and Government Officials to Australia. The prime objective of the trip was to build relationships with the new Abbott Government and to reinforce the importance of the relationship between Australia and New Zealand. It is clear the Australians are “looking more north than south” and on a day-to-day basis New Zealand does not have a high profile in Australia. The high level of the delegation, comprising business leaders from right across the New Zealand economy, would have left the Australians in no doubt that we are serious about nurturing the relationship. It was a highly successful mission and a real joy to participate with the movers and shakers at both a political and business level. One of the highlights of the trip was a police escort motorcade directly from the plane (New Zealand Royal Air Force 757) through to the hotel. With the road completely closed off to other traffic it took about 12 minutes to get from Sydney Airport to the Sheraton (sirens and flashing lights)!
On Monday 10 February I attended the celebrations for the multi-million dollar refit of the B777-200ER Singapore Airlines flight to Christchurch. Singapore Airlines have been loyally supporting Christchurch city for the last 28 years and this upgraded plant is a symbol of their further commitment to our city. We were told by the Singapore Airlines management team that Singapore Airlines is here to stay and in fact over the last summer ramped up additional services to reach the highest volume of additional seats ever seen from the airline. The new cabin product is an exciting edition to quality travel between Christchurch and Singapore and is part of Singapore Airlines dream of making the South Island a top-notch destination for world travellers.