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Cullen plays Russian roulette with taxpayer cash

Cullen plays Russian roulette with taxpayer cash

The National Party's gobsmacked by admissions from Finance Minister Michael Cullen that the cost of bailing out Tranz Rail is already starting to escalate.

"At a select committee, Dr Cullen has admitted the $100 million price tag for upgrading the tracks is the absolute minimum," says National Party Transport spokesman Roger Sowry.

"What's worse, is that he's not prepared to forecast the cost of a worst case scenario.

"In other words, taxpayers are being placed into a position where the sky is the limit," says Mr Sowry.

"There have already been estimates that the rail tracks need at least $200 million dollars worth of work, that's twice the amount Dr Cullen talked about last week.

"When announcing this deal Dr Cullen sold it to the New Zealand public on the basis that it would cost $100 million for track maintenance," Mr Sowry says.

"Now we know he already thought the $100 million figure would not stack up.

"Dr Cullen is playing Russian roulette with our money, it's concerning that he's already forecasting a budget blow-out, even before the Government takes ownership," Mr Sowry says.

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