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Jim Bolger to lead New Zealands public rail system

Wednesday 2 July 2008, 12:25AM

By Michael Cullen

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Former Prime Minister Jim Bolger has been appointed chair of the establishment board of KiwiRail which will manage the business previously known as Toll Rail, Finance Minister Michael Cullen announced today.

The government concluded negotiations with Toll for the purchase of New Zealand’s rail and ferry assets which will continue to operate as they do at present under the establishment board.

A Rail Development Group will report to the Ministers of Finance and State Owned Enterprises in early August with recommendations for the structure and management of the rail businesses going forward and this will be considered by Cabinet.

A number of options exist for the organisation which could range from a single SOE structure with ONTRACK and KiwiRail as separate divisions within that organisation through to possibly a Crown Entity and SOE.

"New Zealand’s rail network is now back in New Zealand hands," Dr Cullen said. "We will now be able to make the investments necessary to develop a world-class, 21st century rail system for New Zealanders.

It will also enable us to look at potential reconfigurations in both Wellington and Auckland to enable us to provide maintenance and storage facilities due to an increasing demand for rolling stock for metro operations.

"We are very lucky to have Jim Bolger’s wisdom and experience in this process. He has been fundamental to the success of Kiwi Bank and has provided strong leadership as Chair of New Zealand Post.

In addition to Chair Rt Hon Jim Bolger, the other members of the KiwiRail board are:

* Brian Corban,
* Mark Franklin,
* Ross Wilson,
* Brian Jackson,
* Linda Constable, and
* Ross Martin