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Auckland rail deal clinched

24 December 2001 Media Statement

Auckland rail deal clinched

The Crown and Tranz Rail have completed the Crown’s purchase of the Auckland rail corridor.

The announcement today by Finance Minister Michael Cullen, Transport Minister Mark Gosche and Tranz Rail Managing Director Michael Beard confirms the details agreed in the exchange of letters between the parties in September.

“The Government entered the negotiations with clear objectives and we have achieved them. Auckland can plan its future transport needs and the part rail will play with certainty,” the Ministers said.

“Auckland now has the corridors it requires for a rapid transit system while freight services to Northland are preserved and we are satisfied a fair and equitable price has been negotiated.”

The first $75 million of the $81 million would be paid immediately. The balance would be paid on satisfactory conclusion of negotiations over train control and track maintenance and other interim services, all of which Tranz Rail would provide for the next five years.

Tranz Rail would continue to run passenger services under the existing contract until at least June 2003.

Detailed negotiations on these on-going operations are expected to be finalised in the first quarter of next year.

“We are pleased to finalise this sale that gives the Auckland Regional Council responsibility for Auckland passenger rail, while preserving Tranz Rail’s rights to the freight business,” said Mr Beard.

“Completing the bulk of this transaction is another step in our strategy to exit non-core services and concentrate on our freight business.

“In the past week or so we have finalised outsourcing of our Infrastructure and Locomotives Services operations, completed the transaction for the sale of Tranz Scenic and now we have largely completed the Auckland rail corridor business.

Once the details of this are concluded, we will move into progressing the sale of the Wellington Tranz Metro operation.”

Mr Beard confirmed proceeds from the sale of the rail corridor would be used to retire Tranz Rail bank debt.


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