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NZ’s appalling rail network needs more than NZ$200m: Cullen

<p>The New Zealand government will have to spend more than its pledged NZ$200m to repair the country’s rail network, a parliamentary committee has heard.</p> <p>Finance minister Michael Cullen said the track was in appalling shape and the government would not earn an economic return on its investment, the <em>Dominion Post</em> reported.</p> <p>The government paid Tranz Rail’s new owners, Toll NZ, a nominal NZ$1 for the track a year ago.</p> <p>It agreed to invest NZ$200m and Toll NZ pledged to invest NZ$100m in rollingstock.</p> <p>Dr Cullen told the committee he was not averse to renegotiating the deal.</p> <p>The most expensive problems on the network are thought to be bridges.</p> <p>Tunnel floors also need to be lowered to allow bigger locomotives and wagons, and more passing loops are required.</p> <p>Toll NZ pays an annual access fee that is supposed to cover all track maintenance once the $200m is spent.</p> <p>The first year’s fee was just under $40m and the present year’s fee was still under discussion, the paper said.</p> <br />