Despite Singapore Airlines' (SIA) failure last week to gain a stake in Air New Zealand (Air NZ) the flag carrier will still buy into Air NZ. 'I am more than hopeful. I am confident,' said the chief executive of New Zealand's Brierley Investments, Greg Terry, whose firm owns 47 per cent of Air NZ. Mr Terry said media reports claiming SIA had walked away from the negotiating table after Brierley and Air NZ chairman Sir Selwyn Cushing tried to increase the price were 'completely untrue and inaccurate'. 'The question of price never arose at any time,' Mr Terry said. He said a proposed price had been agreed on some time ago and had not changed. The New Zealand airline yesterday formally notified the Australian stock exchange that talks between SIA and Brierley were continuing. Air NZ owns Sydney-listed Ansett Australia. SIA wanted to purchase an initial 25 per cent of Air NZ. It also wanted the New Zealand Government's public assurance that it could later increase its stake to 40 per cent. However, only 16.7 per cent of Brierley's stake is in 'B' shares which foreign firms like SIA can own. Brierley could buy a further 8.3 per cent of 'B' shares on the open market to help provide SIA with its initial 25 per cent, but this could prove problematic given stiff New Zealand stock exchange regulations. Also, while the New Zealand Government welcomed SIA taking an initial 25 per cent stake, sources said it was not yet ready to endorse it being raised to 40 per cent. 'While the New Zealand Government was very supportive and welcoming, it wanted to wait a while and to see how the relationship worked before going forward,' a source said. The government holds a single golden share, making it effectively controlling shareholder of the national carrier. SIA chief executive Cheong Choong Kong left Wellington last week after failing to sign a deal negotiated two weeks earlier with Brierley.