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Rail Buyback A Priority - Greens

17 July 2002

The Green Party is welcoming a Government commitment to resume discussions with Tranz Rail after the election on the possibility of buying back the rail track.

Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said the rail network is in a pitiful state and urgent action was needed.

"Regaining control of the rail track, maintaining it properly and actively promoting better services are priorities for the Greens in any negotiations with Labour after the election.

"The Green Party has been lobbying the Government since March 2001 to regain control of the tracks, but progress by the Government on the rail issue has been far too slow.

"There is a wall of wood in Gisborne and the North, which will send an explosion of heavy logging trucks onto our roads if the rail track is left to disintegrate further. That means more crashes, and more pollution."

"There are opportunities with the $30 million "alternatives to roading" found in the new transport strategy to build key links to extend the rail system, such as to the new Marsden Point port in Whangarei."

Ms Fitzsimons said a spate of recent reports on the state of the rail network had lead to major safety concerns, which need to be urgently addressed.

The Green Party transport policy will be launched in Auckland next Tuesday.

A copy of the Green Party's comprehensive strategy to rebuild the rail network is available from the media office or on the web

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