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Tranzrail Should Be Nationalised Without Compo

Tranzrail Should Be Nationalised Without Compensation

In Fact, It Should Compensate NZ For The Damage It’s Done

How deliciously ironic that Big Business is now calling for Tranz Rail to be nationalised (Press, frontpage lead, May 16). Presumably these are the same people who spent the 1980s demanding that the Railways be privatised, as "the market" would do a much better job of it. Well, we’ve had a decade of a privatised rail system now and hasn’t it been a glittering success.

The Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) says that there is a damned good case to be made that not only should Tranz Rail be nationalised but it also should nationalised without compensation. Considering the enormous damage it has wrought in its abyssmal ten years on the job, this corporate criminal should be paying us compensation. The standard penalty rate percentages found in any performance-related contract should be applied. What’s more, the people responsible for flogging it off in the first place, and those who profited mightily whilst running it into the ground must be held accountable, including legally.

On May 2, at an event in Auckland, Tranz Rail was announced as the winner of the annual Roger Award for the Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand (this annual award is organised by CAFCA and GATT Watchdog, two Christchurch-based groups).

This win represents a three-peat for Tranz Rail, which has previously won the Roger Award for 1997 and 2000, and has been a finalist every year since the Award began, in 1997. To quote the judges: "Since privatisation, the company has cut staff, services, safety and many corners…The record in 2002 is no improvement on past behaviour. Disregard of the health and safety of both passengers and the few workers who have not been downsized out of the company is an ongoing scandal…The saga never ends. Tranz Rail deserves huge censure, with successive governments’ handling of rail little better. The Roger Award 2002 is the least Tranz Rail can expect".

Damning words indeed from those judges, who included Sukhi Turner, the Mayor of Dunedin. Click on the below Link for the full Roger Award Judges’ Report


Now there is a bid from another American rail transnational to buy TranzRail. In the words of the poet, this is déjà vu all over again. We’ve been there, done that and it hasn’t worked – spectacularly.

The time is long overdue for the Government to step in, and take back our rail network, in the national interest. There’s nothing to be afraid of, Helen – even your mates in Big Business are demanding it.

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