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Government Should Buy Back All Rail Corridors

COMMENT on Auckland local government's bid to buy rail corridors for $112 million.

from David Thornton Writer & commentator on Local Government [David Thornton is a former member of North Shore City Council and the Auckland Regional Land Transport Committee]


Auckland local body leaders met behind closed doors at Eden Park yesterday to try to create a united front in their effort to find the money to buy rail corridors and infrastructural assets from Tranz Rail for $112 million.

The $112 million will buy the 'rail corridors' in the Auckland region - plus all the rails, stations, signalling equipment etc. This brings the future rest of the country's rail network into question. How much will that cost? And who will buy that?

If Fay Richwhite/Wisconsin rail sell their 38% of Tranz Rail for $175 million that would mean that the $112 million, for just the rail infrastructure in the Auckland region, represents 25% of the value of the whole of Tranz Rail - which was acquired for just over $300 million in 1993.

If anyone is to buy anything from Tranz Rail it must be the Government - because it was the Government which took the money and ran in 1993.

The Government should terminate the 80-year lease it gave to Tranz Rail which covers the whole country. That would keep control of the network in single ownership. The alternative, particularly if Auckland succeeds in 'buying' the Auckland corridors, is fragmented ownership of bits of the network around the country.

That sort of fragmentation has caused real problems, including safety problems, in other countries which have split up ownership of different parts of their rail systems.

And may we all be protected from those loonies who want to buy back all of Tranz Rail - trains, ferries, freight services.the lot.

ENDS.

CONTACT David Thornton at 77, Hillcrest Avenue Northcote North Shore City 'phone 443 5302 fax 443 6771 mobile o25 831 825 email thornton@internet.co.nz


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