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Government must now get the rest back - Greens

2 October 2001

Transport / Business Reporter

Government must now get the rest back - Greens

Green Transport spokesperson Sue Kedgley today said now that the Government has bought back the Auckland rail network it was urgent that Government negotiate the return of the rest of the national rail track.

"This news gives some certainty to the provision of rail services in Auckland and we welcome that, but this deal should have been a part of much wider negotiations to take back ownership of the whole rail track," she said.

Ms Kedgley said the rundown and disintegration of the rest of the rail track was very serious and if it was to be saved the Government had to get moving fast.

"The Putaruru - Rotorua line will have no trains on it at all as of 7 October, the Napier - Gisborne line is under threat of closure and other regional lines are also marginal.

"We cannot afford to let the rail network disintegrate or to be fragmented by piecemeal purchases here and there when the whole country will benefit from a unified rail network back in Government control," she said.

Ms Kedgley said having a fully functional, unified, Government-owned rail network was important for New Zealand's booming forestry industry, meeting our climate change obligations, tourism, regional development and road safety.

"There are a number of areas with serious rail problems such as Wellington and Northland that need urgent attention and the Government must take a holistic approach to the rail network to solve these various problems.

"Again this is good news for Auckland and we are pleased the track has been bought back. But what about the rest of the country," she asked.

ENDS


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