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Crew Refused to Stay with Failed Cook Strait Ferry

Rt Hon Winston Peters

New Zealand First Leader

17 January 2013

Crew Refused to Stay with Failed Cook Strait Ferry

Rt Hon Winston Peters has revealed that the crew who brought the replacement Cook Strait ferry to Wellington rejected offers by KiwiRail to keep working on the ship while it was used on the Cook Strait run.

The Stena Alegra was built in Spain and has been chartered from its British owners as a replacement for the Aratere which lost a propeller crossing Cook Strait.

Mr Peters says KiwiRail has an uncanny knack of picking “lemons” with the ship breaking down in Wellington Harbour during its first week of service.

“The Cook Strait ferry service is a farce. KiwiRail simply cannot get it right and it keeps making mistakes that are costing millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money.

“The Aratere was a floating shambles and KiwiRail has simply replaced one mistake with another.

“The Government has been incompetent over this matter for years. It must step in immediately and put a qualified person in charge of the ferry service.

“The present situation simply cannot be allowed to continue.

“Cook Strait can be one of the most dangerous stretches of water in the world and it is unsafe to keep using unreliable vessels on the trip between Wellington and Picton with hundreds of people on board,” says Mr Peters.

ENDS

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