The Government’s continued underfunding of Kiwirail is driving it into the ground and contributing to it losing major contracts, such as its Tranz Metro Wellington passenger rail contract today, the Green Party said.
“The National Government has driven Kiwirail into the ground and now Kiwirail’s lost its important Wellington passenger rail contract,” Green Party Wellington issues spokesperson Gareth Hughes said.
“Ultimately, people who want to travel by clean public transport will lose out if Kiwirail’s viability is threatened by the loss of important contracts.
“While it’s important Wellingtonians get good value for money, Kiwirail’s strong record suggests it would have been in a good position to keep running Wellington’s trains if it wasn’t under such extraordinary cost-cutting pressure from the Government.
“Kiwirail knows how to run trains efficiently but by shutting it out of the National Land Transport Fund, the Government is holding Kiwirail back.
“The Government should be investing in tracks and rail bridges on the same basis that it maintains the roads for trucks and cars, because that would put Kiwirail on an even playing field.
“It looks like Wellington’s Kiwirail staff will be offered new jobs, which is reassuring, but in the longer term we need to ask whether it’s OK for huge foreign companies to be taking over the running of our key infrastructure services,” said Mr Hughes.