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Cut Your Losses on Interislander Ferry

Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader

10 April 2014

Cut Your Losses on Interislander Ferry

Cut your losses, buy a new ferry and sack Gerry, New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters advised the Government today.

“At the same time turf out the KiwiRail board and management,” says Mr Peters.

“The Aratere has and always will be a lemon – cut it adrift. Sell it for carrying oranges, we don’t care, but for the sake of the New Zealand economy we need Cook Strait ferries that are up to the job.

“Kiwis and tourists are being stranded in Wellington and Picton again and again, and businesses face setbacks when freight shipments are held up.

“The Aratere was bought cheaply, it didn’t suit the freight requirements, it had problems at sea from the start, then some misguided management decided to jumbo size it because it wasn’t up to the task.

“That has been a multi-million dollar disaster. Mariners tell us that the lengthening put a massive increased loading on the existing propellers, which have now failed, and other mechanisms.

“The cost of the Aratere, the jumbo-sizing, the constant repairs, and the cancelled trips have saddled KiwiRail with huge costs. All avoidable. A new ship will be cheaper in the long run.

“The new Minister, who will replace Transport Minister, Gerry Brownlee, the board and management must look at future traffic across the Strait and buy a ship that will be able to service the route in coming years.

“They need to look for a quality ship that can handle the loads now and into the future and one that is suited to the Cook Strait sea conditions.

“None of this was considered when buying the Aratere. It was a panic buy just as the railway wagons were, and they weren’t up to scratch either,” says Mr Peters.

ENDS

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