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State of rail link another failure of privatisatio

24 June 2004

Hon Jim Anderton MP, Progressive Leader

State of rail link another failure of privatisation

The fragile state of the West Coast rail link exposed by the Kellogg Brown and Root's report on the South Island rail coal route, demonstrates yet another failure of the privatisation of essential infrastucture, Jim Anderton, Progressive Leader said today.

The coal route is currently fit to carry current volumes of freight for another two years but needs attention for the future.

"The lack of investment in the South Island rail coal route is disgraceful. This rail link is essential to some of our biggest export industries (coal), West Coast businesses and communities and should have been maintained and upgraded before now. "The situation we are in now, where $70 million is needed to get this track up to standard, is a clear result of privatisation policies where essential infrastructure was sold off to companies, which refused to accept responsibility for the strategic role they play in the New Zealand economy.

"This is a wake up call for National who enthuse over handing New Zealand's strategic assets to private companies with no accountability for the greater economic wellbeing of New Zealand. They would put some of our biggest export earning industries at risk for the sake of their 'hands off' ideology.

"This Labour Progressive government actively supports and promotes economic development and this situation proves that our 'hands on' approach to investment in essential infrastructure is clearly on the right track," Jim Anderton said.

ENDS


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