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Answers wanted on Auckland's $65 million payment

Media Release
19/6/00

Answers wanted on Auckland's $65 million payment to Tranzrail

Ratepayers have the right to know precisely what Auckland can expect to get for the $65 million to be paid to Tranzrail, says the Employers & Manufacturers Association.

"Business and residential ratepayers anxiety over the rush to pay Tranzrail so much money could well be justified," said Alasdair Thompson, the EMA's chief executive.

"An Auckland city councillor, Mike Lee, has questioned whether ratepayers will get value for money, and if the payment is a misuse of public funds (NZ Herald, 19th June). We want to know too.

"Last week (June 8th) we wrote to Les Paterson as chairman of the Auckland Regional Council's Land Transport Committee to ask a series of questions over the Tranzrail deal.

"We asked how could EMA learn more about the deal struck with Tranzrail. In particular we wanted answers to the following questions.

1 ) What will Auckland's ratepayers specifically receive for the money?

2) For how long will the agreement remain in place? What is the start date, the end date, and what does the termination clause state?

3) What ongoing operating and capital spending is Tranzrail guaranteeing for the maintenance and upgrading of track, signalling and station infrastructure?

4) What are the terms of the payment(s) to Tranzrail and when would they commence?

5) Did our councils ask for, or commission any independent business advice or reports on whether they were getting a good deal from Tranzrail?

6) What tangible reassurances are there available to Auckland's ratepayers that Tranzrail will only be paid for services it provides. In other words, are there any payment clauses that take no account of usage uptake (ie use it or lose it (pay) provisions) included in the agreement?

7) Where do our councils expect the money to come from to pay the $65 million?

"In addition to these questions we said we would like to see a copy of the agreement with Tranzrail, and asked how a copy could be obtained.

"We don't have a reply yet.

"We want the terms and conditions of the $65 million Tranzrail deal to be made public."

Further comment: Alasdair Thompson Tel 09 367 0911 (bus) 09 303 3951 (hme) 025 982 024 (mob)


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