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English rolled on rail as Key slips again

5 May 2008

English rolled on rail as Key slips again on assets

Bill English has been rolled on his previous promise to sell the rail network back into private ownership as John Key makes it clear National will not campaign on any actual policy principles, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

The Labour-led government has announced it will buy back New Zealand’s rail system as part of its push to modernise infrastructure and make the transport network more sustainable.

In March, Mr English said if National was elected it would get out of the rail business ‘as quickly as possible’. John Key has today pulled rank on his Finance Spokesman, saying National would retain the rail in public ownership if elected.

This comes less than two weeks after Mr Key forced Mr English to back down on his previous refusal to subsidise private broadband infrastructure.

“John Key does not support public ownership of the rail network, but he is so desperate for office that he is refusing to stand on any real principle,” Dr Cullen said.

“Meanwhile, Bill English continues to tell us what National actually believes only to be rolled later in Mr Key’s drive to accumulate as many dead rats as possible before election day.

“These issues are too important for John Key to be slippery on them. Our rail system was run down during the 1990s and urgently needs investments so it can contribute to economic growth.

“Labour believes in the value of rail and is willing to make the investments that are needed. National likes to talk about everything it will do to invest in infrastructure, but then has labelled today’s announcement ‘reckless’.

“The Labour-led government has a real plan for the future – National can’t yet bring themselves to think past Election Day.”

ENDS

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