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Government Urged To Buy Back Rail Operations

4 December 2007

Government Urged To Buy Back Rail Operations


New Zealand First would support any moves by the Government to buy back rail operations, says transport spokesman Peter Brown.

“Rail is a critical part of this country’s transport infrastructure and it would be best if it was returned to public ownership,” said Mr Brown.

Mr Brown’s comments follow a report today that the Government is actively considering purchasing Australian-owned Toll New Zealand following the apparent failure of negotiations between the company and the Government over access to the state owned rail network.

“Since gaining monopoly access to our nation’s rail network, Toll has continuously bleated about costs and has even attempted to compel the Government into lowering access fees to the network.

“The failure of negotiations is yet another chapter in the sorry history of our rail services. Sold for a song in 1993 by the National Government to its rich mates Fay and Richwhite, rail has been run into the ground by a succession of owners. It is time to face facts – privatisation has failed.

“Government ownership could open the door to improved flexibility, innovation, efficiency and service, which are currently lacking.

“The Government should act in the interests of the country by developing infrastructure through public ownership, as it is clear that an overseas-owned monopoly is largely compelled to work only in the interests of its shareholders,” said Mr Brown.


ENDS

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