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Save Rail Again Says NZ First

Save Rail Again Says NZ First

New Zealand First has criticised the Government’s agreement with Tranz Rail describing it as a “bitsy” arrangement that props the company up at a cost to the taxpayer far in excess of what it might have been.

“The latest move by the Government to buy a 35 percent stake in Tranz Rail highlights the madness of Labour and National’s past privatising agenda and is another example of ad hoc policy making,” said transport spokesperson Peter Brown.

He was responding to the $75.8m investment in the former state asset and noted that the Government was back in the transport business with three directorships in the company.

“The New Right experiment which ran rampant throughout the 1980s and 90s, and which savaged so many of our publicly owned utilities is still proving disastrous for this country. “The Government’s mates like Fay Richwhite plundered and looted Tranz Rail and have left an empty shell which dumb politicians are paying a premium for with taxpayers’ money.

“The profits have been huge for Tranz Rail and now the poor old taxpayers are having to confront the impact of years of running down the infrastructure while the tycoons maximised their profits at our expense. An exclusive access agreement for Tranz Rail until 2070 is beyond reason, and the track we are getting back is substandard.

“The Government should have simply taken back the railways at a heavily discounted price and developed a coherent transport strategy. If they had any business acumen they would have bought 51% when the shares were around 40 cents – timidity has again cost the country millions,” said Mr Brown.

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