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Peters scathing over govt's rail record

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/05/2017

Winston Peters © Fiona Goodall/Getty Images Winston Peters Winston Peters has launched a scathing attack on the government KiwiRail track record, saying ministers have finally realised the scale of the disaster they've created.

Prime Minister Bill English confirmed on Tuesday state-owned KiwiRail would be reviewed with the aim of finding ways to make it more sustainable.

He's ruled out privatisation.

Mr Peters says until now the government has been hell-bent on shutting down rail, as happened in his Northland electorate and Gisborne.

"Now, with roads falling apart, congestion in major cities and SH1 knocked out by the earthquake between Picton and Christchurch, they have had a sudden epiphany - they have woken up to the fact the country can't operate viably without rail," the NZ First leader said.

"National has ignored all advice on how vital a rail network is - closing Northland lines, East Coast lines, buying low quality wagons and locomotives and now axing the electric section of the North Island main trunk line."

Mr Peters quoted Mainfreight head Bruce Plested.

"He pointed out that without rail `our desperation for more roads intensifies to the point of impossibility, and our options for port locations become hopelessly restricted'.".

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