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Commitment To Progress Auckland Rail Issues

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
FROM
THE GOVERNMENT AND AUCKLAND MAYORS

16 February 2001


Government Ministers and Auckland Local Authority representatives said today they were pleased with the outcome of their meeting this morning.

Both sides reported on progress towards finalising an outcome for the Auckland rail deal within the broader issue of the national rail policy. Ministers Mark Gosche and Judith Tizard were able to confirm there was an agreement with TranzRail to extend the 15 February deadline for the Government support in principle until 31 March 2001, by which time the Government has committed to having resolved all the relevant issues.

Joint agreement of a new timetable indicates a level of Government commitment to resolving the Auckland rail issues that the region has not had to date. It also shows that the Auckland region recognises the issues the Government must work through, together with the timeline required for these.

The Government appreciates the urgency of the Auckland situation and is undertaking national rail policy work that will allow it to make decisions about the Auckland deal as soon as possible.

“The Government is committed to getting a positive resolution to securing good rail services for Auckland passengers,” said Transport Minister Mark Gosche.

The Government has advised the Mayors that they are keen to work together with local authorities towards implementing the Regional Land Transport Strategy. This includes addressing funding issues and furthering the development of the North shore busway, which has already begun on the Southern side.

The Ministerial sub-committee established to lead the national rail policy includes the Prime Minister Helen Clark, Jim Anderton, Michael Cullen, Mark Gosche, Sandra Lee and Judith Tizard. This committee is meeting regularly.

Mayoral Forum chair Bob Harvey said, “There is a willingness from Government to share information and involve the Auckland region in the process of developing the national rail policy. As a region we are very happy to work in partnership with the Government to resolve the issues around the regions rail passenger services.”

ENDS

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