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News gets worse on Toll deal

Bill English MP
National Party Finance Spokesman

11 May 2008

News gets worse on Toll deal

Labour must urgently answer more questions on the Toll deal so taxpayers know exactly how much money they have spent, says National’s Finance spokesman, Bill English.

Mr English is referring to reports that the Government still owes Toll Holdings $200 million even after it has paid the Australian company more than half a billion dollars for its rail and ferry operations.

“What we know so far is that Labour paid Toll $665 million for the railway business while Toll retained the lucrative freighting arm. Then it became clear that taxpayers are to pick up the tab for new rolling stock. Then it was revealed that Toll had negotiated rent-free use of depot space in prime locations next to rail depots for six years.

“Rumours abound about price discounts for Toll’s freight in addition to this sweetener.

“Now there is uncertainty about whether taxpayers will be saddled with the obligation to repay $200 million of debt. Labour has already gifted the Australian shareholders of Toll Holdings a quarter of a billion dollar profit.

“New Zealand is fast becoming a laughing stock for the Government’s lack of business nouse. Australian media has been crowing that Toll’s rivals there are awaiting their own ‘Helen moment’.

“This deal gets murkier by the week. Taxpayers need to know how much more value Michael Cullen has handed to Toll – in the form of their money – in this desperate election-year lolly scramble.”


ENDS

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