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Mallard's train-building idea daft

Gerry Brownlee MP
National Party State Owned Enterprises Spokesman

13 July 2008

Mallard's train-building idea daft

A plan by the Government to build its own locomotives for the railways is daft, says National's SOE spokesman, Gerry Brownlee.

SOE Minister Trevor Mallard told the Agenda TV programme today that the Government is considering building locomotives in workshops in Lower Hutt.

"This proves that this Government has absolutely no idea where to go from here.

"They've had nine years of coasting along on the back of good economic times and as soon as they hit a rough patch they turn backwards to a time when the economy was heavily subsidised.

"New Zealand's economic well-being will not be served by returning to the glory days of NZ Railways, which everyone knew was a huge waste of taxpayer resources.

"This smacks of pork-barrel politics.

"Even if this idea should be considered for a moment, we don't have the expertise.

"Where is the evidence that we would be capable of doing it, and what would be the cost?

"New Zealanders still don't know what the final bill for the railways buy-up is, let alone the cost of something like this.

"It smacks of desperation.

"The public, who are feeling a lot of pain at the pump, at the supermarket, and at the bank, will look at this idea and wonder if this Government is capable of thinking straight.

"It's an idea from the 1950s that should not be in the plan of any forward-looking Government.

"And that's the difference between Labour and National. National is looking to the future - we are ambitious for New Zealand.

"A cynic might also say that the fact that Trevor Mallard is proposing to build these locomotives in his own electorate is little more than a Save-My-Seat campaign on his part, and that may well be the case."

ENDS

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