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Tranz Rail Questions To Be Answered

Tranz Rail Questions To Be Answered

ACT Leader Richard Prebble said today that the ACT Party was opposed to the Government again getting itself involved in rail.

"Basically this deal is the Government bailing out the private sector shareholders of TranzRail. In our view Ministers should be saying, `You bought it - you fix it'.

"There are some interesting questions about this transaction. Why is the Government only buying 35percent? 35percent won't guarantee control of TranzRail and it's clear another shareholder could stand in the market and buy 51 percent as the Australian company Toll Holdings had said that it would. Why would the New Zealand taxpayer take all the risk, maintain the entire track, but not control the rail operating company that will have an exclusive license to operate to use the track?

"Another good question is what sort of a company is TranzRail going to be? The Directors are claiming that for the first time it will be a level playing field. What does that mean? Is the Government going to increase road user charges to favour rail? The agreement states that TranzRail is going to continue with the sale of its trucking company, but where's the guarantee that the company will be sold? What will be the future of the rail ferries? Will Clifford Bay proceed?

"At the moment all this deal does is bail out the TranzRail shareholders and it does not guarantee either a sustainable railway or that the taxpayer won't be facing future heavy financial outlays," Mr Prebble said.

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