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Taxpayers Taken For a Ride

Taxpayers Taken For a Ride

Friday 6 Sep 2002

If the Rail Freight Action Group wants cheaper freight prices from Tranz Rail then its corporate members - particularly Solid Energy, Carter Holt Harvey, Fletcher Forests and Fonterra - should put their collective millions where their mouths are and buy the rail tracks off Tranz Rail themselves, ACT Transport and Commerce Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"The Action Group wants the government to buy back the rail tracks and open them up to competition. But why should the taxpayers fork out their hard-earned money so four big corporates, one state-owned, can pay less to send their products to market?

"I bet many supermarkets and dairies think they pay too much for milk. So should the government use taxpayer money to buy all the dairy farms and give that massive monopolistic structure Fonterra some competition?

"Tranz Rail has shown in the past it's a willing seller at an attractive price. There's nothing to stop the Rail Freight Action Group from using its own resources to make an offer to buy the rail track from Tranz Rail.

"By lobbying the government to purchase the rail track these corporates are slipping into the dependency mindset which sees people rushing to the government to fix their every problem. And in meekly paying any attention to them, the Labour Government shows it has no regard for the rights of ordinary taxpayers.

"These corporates are seeking privileges from the Government, and the Government should strongly resist," Miss Coddington said.


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