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Greens hail rail track buy-back

Greens hail rail track buy-back

The Green Party is delighted that the Government has at last moved to buy-back New Zealand's rail tracks.

"This decision brings to a close 10 years of idiocy during which an essential part of our national transport system has been brought to the edge of collapse," Green Co-leader and Transport spokesperson, Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

"The Greens and the Government have a formal agreement to work cooperatively on transport issues. This decision helps give effect to the commitment in the New Zealand Transport Strategy to expand the role of rail as an essential carrier of people and freight.

"This decision is good news for motorists, who can expect to see fewer heavy trucks on the road, and good news for Auckland and Wellington rail commuters.

"The longer term effects of a secure, publicly owned and funded rail track network will see our roads become safer and it will also help meet our Kyoto commitments, as rail uses only a quarter of the fuel trucks do, per tonne/km. This decision is good news for the economy and good news for the environment.

"However, the Government needs to keep a very close eye on TranzRail to make sure it meets the service and quality standards of its track-access deal.

"It is 10 years since I held a media conference on Auckland Railway Station with transport experts and rail unions and made a last-ditch attempt to prevent Ruth Richardson selling New Zealand Rail."

"This is a commonsense rollback of the mindless privatisations of the 1980's and 90's. Even major business users have been calling for the Government to take back the track.

"Investment in rail is mainstream thinking around the world. Today's announcement reinforces the work by the Greens and the Government in developing an integrated and sustainable land transport system for New Zealand.

"The Green Party is happy to support any special budgetary provision that may be needed to secure this long overdue investment in rail."

The Greens rail campaign summary can be viewed at:

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