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Government cuts another secret deal

Government cuts another secret deal

The Government is putting at least $250 million of taxpayer money at risk with its latest attempt to seize control of New Zealand's rail track network.

"Michael Cullen promised the country the Government wouldn't get involved in any bidding war for control of the tracks, instead he's negotiated a slippery deal that commits the taxpayer to massive risk," says National Party Transport spokesman Roger Sowry.

"Now that it appears another bidder is chasing Tranz Rail, the National Party is left wondering why the Government is getting involved at all.

"The market appears to be correcting itself," says Mr Sowry.

"Now the Government claims the new arrangement does not amount to a subsidy, but that's absolute rubbish and nothing short of propaganda.

"If Michael Cullen gets control of the tracks, then he's removing the biggest headache for Tranz Rail looking ahead," Mr Sowry says.

"If that's not a subsidy for Toll, then it's hard to imagine what is.

"The Finance Minister also appears to be playing favourites.

"With a new player in the market for Tranz Rail, will he now offer them the same terms that he appears to have secretly negotiated with Toll or does Toll get special treatment?

"Labour's returning to type, renationalising and bureaucratising services that should remain in the private sector," Mr Sowry says.

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