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It’s Time For Tranz Rail To Go Says Shields

Greater Wellington is the promotional name of the Wellington Regional Council

News Release
17 January, 2003


It’s Time For Tranz Rail To Go Says Shields

Margaret Shields, Chairperson of Greater Wellington – The Regional Council, has welcomed the Minister of Transport’s statement that the Government is moving to resolve the problems with the rail service.

“The Government is now the only party that can realistically solve the problems with the rail service. The Regional Council has been unhappy and frustrated with the service the public has been receiving for a long time, but because Tranz Rail is an unregulated monopoly there has been very little we can do.”

“As commuters know Tranz Rail’s service has become increasingly unreliable and the trains urgently need reinvestment. Tranz Rail have not invested in the business and have publicly stated they want out of the passenger business. Everyone is fed-up with their attitude and behaviour, and it is time for them to get out of the business.”

Ms Shields said it was clear that Tranz Rail management have no objective other than to extract as much money from the public subsidy as possible.

“Our attempt to purchase the operation with a joint-venture partner was thwarted by Tranz Rail’s refusal to open its books, and short of cancelling the contract – which would throw the region’s transport system into more chaos – our hands have been tied.”

“The refusal of Tranz Rail’s management to properly account for the spending of the $17 Million subsidy continues to be unacceptable, and any new contract with any new operator will see full public accountability enforced.”

Ms Shields said that she would now wait for further advice from the Government on their negotiations with Tranz Rail.

“Our objective is to ensure that Wellington’s passenger rail service has a long-term future, and to make certain that the public receives a quality service at a fair price. It is now clear to everyone that Tranz Rail is becoming increasingly incapable of providing a service of acceptable quality or security, and therefore we fully support the Government’s initiatives to directly negotiate a solution.”

ENDS

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