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Rail Union Congratulates Greens Rail Plan

MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,
TUESDAY 27 MARCH 2001

“RAIL & MARITIME TRANSPORT UNION CONGRATULATES GREENS PLAN FOR GETTING RAIL BACK ON TRACK”

“The RMTU endorses and welcomes the Green Party’s contribution to the current rail debate and its underscoring of the need for a national rail strategy response to Tranz Rail’s planned sell off or systematic closedown of NZ’s national rail system”.

The Union’s General Secretary Wayne Butson was commenting on the Green Party “Getting New Zealand Back On Track” strategy for rail released today.

Wayne Butson said “ The Green Party proposal is the first political response which has looked at the whole national rail infrastructure and proposed a response which is in the best interests of New Zealand rather than looking for piecemeal solutions for cities like Wellington and Auckland.”

“Under the Green Party strategy we would see public money devoted to providing actual services rather than buying “access” to the rail corridor at an exorbitant $112m cost when Tranz Rail pays Railcorp $1.00 per annum for the whole network.”

Mr Butson went on to say “The Green proposal suggests a correction of the fundamental flaw in the privatisation model used by the then national Government in that no level competitive playing field was created for the road/rail land transport modes at the time of the sale of NZ Rail Ltd and this has lead to a growth in trucking and congestion on the highways as there has been ongoing undercharging of trucks for the true cost of roading whilst rail must pay the total cost of track provision.”

“The rail infrastructure network is as essential to New Zealand’s national interest as the roading network is and should return into public ownership and be funded out of Transfund”, said Mr Butson.

“The Green Party proposal will enable central and local government to plan for regional development in industries like forestry and thereby prevent horror scenario’s like hundreds of extra trucks running on the East Coast carting logs and the hazards this represents to other road users”, said Mr Butson.

“Other countries who privatised their rail systems have either retained ownership of the rail infrastructure or have seen the folly of the sale and are moving to return the infrastructure to public ownership,” he said.

“The RMTU will be releasing a discussion paper on rail after it meets with the Minister of Transport on Wednesday 28 March and is preparing a national “Take Back The Track” campaign which will be launched soon,” said Mr Butson.

For further information please contact: Wayne Butson

04 473-6693 work


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