Infratil response to Green's media release

Published: Thu 30 Oct 2008 04:13 PM
Media Release
30 October, 2008
Mr Lloyd Morrison CEO of Infratil, said today: “Jeanette Fitzsimons has got the reasons for Infratil’s opposition to the Public Transport Management Act completely wrong.
“Right from the start we have made it clear that NZ Bus understood the desire for transparency and supported the provision in the Act for detailed financial and operational information in respect of commercial public transport services for monitoring and planning purposes to councils.”
Mr Morrison said that Infratil, through its bus operator NZ Bus, is in total agreement over the Government’s and the Greens’ goals for public transport. We support the aims of a value for money, safe, affordable, integrated and responsive land transport system.
“However, we have been vehemently opposed to the Government’s means of achieving this outcome, as have other operators and the Bus and Coach Association. The Public Transport Management Act is a highly counterproductive measure; one that is politically motivated with little justification with regard to more efficient or effective public transport.
“Contrary to Ms Fitzsimons’ view, our opposition to the Public Transport Management Act is its removal of the incentive for innovative private sector investment, and the dismissal of the partnership model. It reduces the private sector to contract service providers and gives the Councils total control over private transport businesses.
‘We consider that a long-term private investor, accountable both to regional authorities and to shareholders, has the greatest incentive to deliver attractive, efficient services,” Mr Morrison said.
He said the challenge for public transport operators is to offer a quality of service that will bring car drivers out from behind the wheel and on to buses, trains and ferries.
“Yes, we want to make a profit for our shareholders, but we will succeed financially only if people get a better public transport service that they want to use,” Mr Morrison said.
Under the Act, NZ Bus will have only one customer, the regional council, there will be no more innovation or investment. Without private and public sector partnerships and investment by the private sector, greater costs will fall to the tax and ratepayer as the councils take control.
Infratil has made no secret of its opposition to the Act, and its endeavours to urge all political parties to repeal it. “We will continue to lobby for this and publicise why this would be the best outcome for promoting value for money, affordable, safe, integrated and responsive land transport systems that passengers want to use.
“Anyone who reads the letter sent to Ms Fitzsimons and others will see we make no mention of the issues Ms Fitzsimons raises,” Mr Morrison said.
Attached for your information is the letter referred to in Ms Fitzsimons’ media release, outlining our opposition to the Act in detail.

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