Transport Minister Steven Joyce says the Labour government spent more than a billion dollars on KiwiRail last year. It’s now valued at just $388 million.
Mr Joyce says that, in opposition, National was very concerned at the purchase price paid by Labour for the rail company and nothing has happened since to change that view.
“We now need some hard-nosed realism about future investments. We need decisions that make sense when stacked up alongside other modal options, including sea freight and roading.
“We want to encourage an environment where rail can operate as efficiently as possible, with strong commercial imperatives to provide the greatest benefit to the New Zealand economy.
“There will be an expectation that investment in the predominantly freight-based national rail network anticipates a commercial rate of return. Any taxpayer subsidies to the freight side of the business should be provided transparently and should not be at the expense of other transport modes.”
Labour’s dream has turned in to an expensive nightmare for the taxpayer but at least the National government is awake to the problem and won’t be blinded by ideology when seeking solutions.