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Alliance opposes break-up of Tranz Rail

Alliance opposes break-up of Tranz Rail

The Finance Minister and others might see the break-up of Tranz Rail as being in the best interests of shareholders, but it is certainly not in the best interests of the people, the Alliance says.

Jill Ovens, Alliance Infrastructure spokesperson, says the Government should buy back the rail network and operate it in the national interest to protect economic development, particularly regional development.

"Since the railways were sold to Tranz Rail, they have been progressively asset-stripped.

"We have seen the withdrawal of passenger services over most of the country.

"This Summer, Wellingtonians experienced the chaos of commuter services disrupted by incorrectly welded tracks (done to save on maintenance costs).

"And trucks clog up our highways because there is a shortage of rolling stock to transport commodities like coal and trees. As well, there has been no new development of railway lines."

Ms Ovens says the answer is not to open the rail network to competing overseas rail operators.

"The Alliance does not support private funding initiatives," she says. "Transport planning and transport systems are of such importance to the everyday lives of New Zealanders that the processes must remain in public control.

"Passing this off to the private sector is an abrogation of responsibilities and merely adds extra cost for no tangible gain."

Ms Ovens says we must rebuild our railway network as part of an integrated transport system that utilises both rail capacity and coastal shipping services to drastically reduce inefficient road freight.

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