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Tranz Rail demand railway robbery

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Tranz Rail demand railway robbery


Tranz Rail’s demand for $65 million by September 30 for access to the region’s rail corridors in 2004 is unacceptable, Auckland Regional Alliance chairman Brendon Lane said today.

“It’s little more than railway robbery,” he said.

Auckland Alliance members protested against the deal today along with representatives of the Coalition for Public Transport and the Tramways Union.

The group demonstrated outside the Auckland Mayoral Forum meeting, which five cabinet ministers also attended.

Brendon Lane said Auckland Alliance members understand that mayors are desperate to solve the region’s transport problems.

But handing $65 million over to Tranz Rail’s shareholders isn’t the answer, he said.

“Tranz Rail CEO Michael Beard claims that the company’s operating costs and capital expenditure are too high.

“If this is true, the Alliance has no confidence that Tranz Rail will invest anything into improving Auckland’s rail passenger transport.

“It will be the ratepayer and taxpayer that ends up paying for all improvements.”

Brendon Lane said Auckland Alliance members are urging the mayors and the Government to work together to find more appropriate solutions.

One option is reaching a single service provider agreement with Tranz Rail, as the Wellington Regional Council has done.

Other options include buying a strategic shareholding in the company, or forming a joint venture and investing the $65 million as a capital injection.

“If Tranz Rail refuses to negotiate the government should threaten to legislate against this over-indulged multi-national,” Brendon Lane said.

ENDS

Further comment contact Alex Muir, (09) 836-7179


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