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Union says rail buyback on the right track

Maritime Union media release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday 7 May 2008

The Maritime Union says the buyback of rail and ferries is a good step towards rebuilding a top quality transport system in New Zealand.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the move is positive for New Zealand, and should have been done a long time ago.

"The only regret is that we have now had a generation where this vital part of our infrastructure has been first asset stripped then unsuccessfully operated by global corporations interested in shareholder profit, not for what is good for New Zealand."

Mr Hanson says the Government was moving in the right direction but should not be timid.

"We need some more speed in developing New Zealand-owned coastal shipping, establishing a national ports strategy, and ensuring our transport infrastructure is developed for the benefit of New Zealand, not private interest groups or overseas shareholders."

Mr Hanson says shipping and rail will be the two transport modes of the future as fuel prices, road congestion and environmental problems continue to grow.

"Hopefully this is the closing chapter of the rail saga that goes back to the right-wing political cabal who stripped New Zealand's assets and sold them to their mates during the 1980's and 1990's."

The Maritime Union represents maritime workers aboard the Cook Strait ferries and in all New Zealand ports.


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