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Topcat Was A Sitting Duck

TopCat’s withdrawal from the Cook Strait freight market and the loss of competition from this vital link in New Zealand’s transport system comes as no surprise, Road Transport Forum chief executive Tony Friedlander said today.

Mr Friedlander said the Forum was disappointed TopCat’s owners had decided it could not continue, as it offered an important new dimension to Cook Strait freight transport. “But the warning signs have been obvious for some months,” he said.

“In July we asked Transport Minister Mark Gosche to take action to stop what we saw as predatory pricing by Tranz Rail and warned him of the consequences if he failed to act. He refused to investigate our concerns.

“Then in September we saw the Marlborough District Council impose unrealistic speed restrictions on fast ferries without advice or guidance from the Ministry of Transport. This was despite the national significance and importance of the decision.”

Mr Friedlander said both the Government and the Marlborough District Council were warned of the consequences of their actions, but ignored those warnings.

“TopCat’s withdrawal was made inevitable by major obstacles which were allowed to be placed in its way. Now businesses who rely on a competitive Cook Strait freight market, must pay the price.”

ENDS

Details: Tony Friedlander Ph: 04 472 3877 Mob: 025 483 163

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