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KiwiRail to be reviewed but not privatised

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/05/2017

The government is looking for ways to make state-owned KiwiRail more sustainable.

Prime Minister Bill English confirmed on Tuesday the state-owned business would be reviewed.

"We're just going to check to see if there is any way of making it more able to stand on its own," he told reporters.

"They're not stand alone yet. The operating business does make money but the capital requirements to maintain a large network are very substantial."

KiwiRail's funding comes directly from the government and it doesn't get anything from the national land transport fund to help it maintain lines and stations.

It has soaked up nearly $5 billion since 2008.

Mr English said partial privatisation wasn't an option.

"I doubt there's any possibility of that, in fact no possibility," he said.

"You couldn't privatise an entity that loses as much money per year as KiwiRail does."

Transport Minister Simon Bridges told Newshub his ministry and the Treasury would carry out the review.

"It's basically about having a long-term, transparent, sustainable model for KiwiRail," he said.

"We want to have a really good look at that and put them on a good even footing."

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