Christchurch has had a tough time in recent years.
The earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 - followed by a painfully protracted rebuilding process - have knocked the southern capital on its backside. All right-thinking Kiwis were horrified by the devastation. These are our people - our family.
We want to see our mates back on their feet. For a moment there, I almost cheered for the Crusaders ... almost.
Air New Zealand did great work in the aftermath of the quakes, flying people to and from the shattered city for free.
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But the airline's decision last week to cancel their Christchurch-to-Tokyo seasonal flights is a tough blow for the south.
The South Island economy needs that gateway to be prosperous.
The airline - which is about 51 per cent owned by me and you - has a duty to do the right thing for New Zealand society. Yes, it's great that it makes good profits - no one wants a basket case for a national carrier. But as the dominant shareholder, surely the Government can make reasonable demands about maintaining key routes. Isn't that the exact reason we are the major shareholder?
It was taxpayer dollars that bailed out the airline in 2001. Taxpayers from Christchurch and the regions paid their share. Is this how they get repaid?