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Save Rail - Reject Re-Nationalisation

Save Rail - Reject Re-Nationalisation

"Tranz Rail shareholders should tell Helengrad's rabid re-nationaliser 'Castro' Cullen to bugger off," said Libertarianz spokesman Peter Cresswell today. "They should remember that the money he is offering is not his own," he said, suggesting shareholders seriously look at signing up to the Toll Holdings offer instead of accepting Cullen's ill-gotten loot. "Tranz Rail shareholders should reject Cullen's corporate welfare and let Toll Holdings invest voluntarily in the company," he affirmed.

Cresswell notes that "in an obvious attempt to avert the Toll offer," and with an "uncanny repetition" of the Air New Zealand re-nationalisation, Cullen and Transport Minister Swain have claimed that Tranz Rail would face bankruptcy if not for the investment of Other People's Money. "Even if that were true, it is surely unconscionable for Cullen to make such a thing public. The eagerness of Cullen to re-nationalise," says Cresswell, "is matched only by his willingness to shoot his mouth off when he really shouldn't." "While the tired old socialists try to undermine Tranz Rail's business position in anticipation of another re-nationalisation, they might reflect that their claims that a government rescue is needed to avert the demise of all trains and ferries is entirely without foundation," says Cresswell. He points out that receivers generally run businesses to trade them out of debt. "Those services that can run at a profit - such as the interisland ferries and busy freight lines - will continue," he says, and offers TV3 as an example. "TV3 went into receivership years ago, but we still see John Campbell mugging on our TV screens every night." Bankruptcy, he reminds us, "doesn't mean that services disappear."

Accepting Cullen's ill-gotten loot would, though, "put Tranz Rail in the same league as the loser companies who have accepted state loot from Industry NZ; it would also makes New Zealand's business environment look more and more like the government-cushioned 'phony-crony- capitalism' of countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and China."

"Libertarianz would sell any renationalised Tranz Rail, and would move quickly to 'level the playing field' for rail by commercialising and privatising the roading network. The problem is not private ownership of rail," he concluded. "It is government ownership of roads."

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