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robson-on-politics: rail edition

robson-on-politics: rail edition

Special edition: Rail

The Labour-Progressive coalition this afternoon announced recovery of the rail network. robson-on-politics has the full text of Jim Anderton's statement as Progressive Leader & Minister for Economic Development and of Matt Robson's statement.

Four Weeks Leave: nearly 9,000 postcards

Nearly 2,000 postcards poured in this week, and on Friday afternoon when formal submissions closed, the total stands at 8,879 people who have written in support - a huge response when other letterbox campaigns get a return of about 1%. It shows there is substantial support in the community for this move. It is not too late to send in postcards, and I will let the Select Committee know as more arrive.

Hon Jim Anderton: Tranzrail deal vital for NZ's economic development

"New Zealand's future success in the critical economic, industry and regional development areas are the reasons behind the Coalition Government's announcement today to buy the rail network for $1, and take a 35 per cent stake in Tranzrail."

Jim Anderton has played an important role in the Ad Hoc Ministerial committee that has considered the issue along with Finance Minister Michael Cullen and Transport Minister Paul Swain.

"Regions need strong transport networks and the continued presence of rail is vital to assist regional growth and development. Both short and long term considerations will require an integrated transport approach involving rail, sea and road options.

"This decision will allow the government to have a role in ensuring that transport solutions involving rail can be applied to Northland and the East Coast to cope with the upcoming wall of wood, and the South Island Midland line to ensure coal mined on the West Coast can be exported and shipped to the North Island for electricity generation.

"The Progressive Party committed itself during the election campaign to adequate infrastructure for all New Zealand communities and the inclusion of rail as an integral part of a balanced transport strategy and today's step is part of delivering on that policy."

Hon Matt Robson: Rail recovered for New Zealand

"The need to reinvest in rail, including the repurchasing of the rail network, was necessary for New Zealand's future. The problems created by the sale of NZ Rail under the National Government are the result of mismanagement of that sale in the 1990s."

"The National Government which sold rail was urged by Treasury to at least retain the lines as part of a 'kiwi share' yet they rejected this advice as part of some form of ideological jihad against the people of New Zealand.

"The resulting plundering of the rail system and the running down of the assets were the logical outcome of this privatisation and loss of control of the network.

"While the Labour-Progressive coalition government is re-investing in and re-building the infrastructure of New Zealand, the National Party is heading back to ideological extremes as evidenced by their newly announced welfare policy. The National Party has no credibility in New Zealand's regions or in working with business and wants to take us back to high unemployment, scrapping regional development policies, and a greater gap between rich and poor.

"This announcement today demonstrates again the value of the Progressives being part of Coalition Government."

* The Crown will buy the rail network for $1, including the track and associated infrastructure * The Crown will buy 35% of TranzRail for $76m, paying a deposit of $44m immediately. * The Crown gains "step-in" access rights, to bring in other operators if TranzRail doesn't keep up volumes. * The Crown intends to invest $100m to refurbish & improve the network and will buy surplus land and other assets for around $50m (subject to valuation.)

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