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Published: 2003-06-10 00:00:00

Environment Waikato’s Regional Land Transport Committee welcomes the Government’s proposal to return to public ownership of the rail network.

Chairman David Peart said separating operation and ownership was something the Regional Council had advocated, but he still had concerns about the exclusivity of the arrangement.

The Government has proposed to buy the rail network for $1, take out a 35 per cent stake in Tranz Rail and rescue it from insolvency through an immediate cash injection of $44 million. The proposal supports more effective regional land transport strategies integrating both road and rail.

“The rail network is important for the Waikato Region’s agricultural and forestry economy. Our Regional Land Transport Strategy advocates an economically efficient land transport system and promotes the use of low energy transport options, including the greater use of rail transport.

“The benefits of rail for the long distance haulage of bulk freight such as logs are recognised within the Strategy, ” he said.

“Rail is also seen as playing a part in future passenger transport options. These options have been restricted by the current ownership.”