Kiwis approve of rail buyback
TVNZ: Jul 21, 2008
Buying back the rail and ferry network will cost taxpayers well over a billion dollars, but a ONE News Colmar Brunton poll shows most New Zealanders believe it is money well spent.
The government bought back 180 trains, over 4000 wagons and one interisland ferry from Australian company Toll Holdings after National sold them in 1993.
But was buying back the nation's train set more about politics than public transport?
"It is not red it is an orangey colour for those of you who think there is some kind of branding exercise," Michael Cullen said on July 1, referring to the new colour scheme of the trains.
One thousand voters were polled, and asked that given the final price tag will go well over the billion dollar mark would they support the buying back of rail and ferry services?
* Yes - 68%
* No - 24%
* Don't know - 8%
On Tuesday, the government will announce that it will spend $80 million upgrading the Auckland and Wellington metro services.
National opposed the buyback, but the poll found 56% of their voters actually support the rail deal.
And National is promising that, if elected it will not sell off state assets in its first term.
"We'll work hard to try and deliver top class rail services but I don't think we should underestimate just what a large challenge that will be," says National leader John Key.
Labour wants to make state asset ownership a key election issue and it is clear why given the public sentiment with rail.