Publication Details

Laird, P. G. (2013). Government rail asset sales, and return to the public sector, in New Zealand and Tasmania. Research in Transportation Business and Management, 6 116-122.


The paper outlines the sale, with a track lease, in 1993 of the state owned New Zealand Railways Corporation to a consortium, TranzRail Holdings formed by the United States and New Zealand interests. It also notes increases in productivity and traffic levels to 1999 with subsequent problems leading to the New Zealand Government agreeing in 2003 to repurchase and rehabilitate the track. The paper then outlines transfer of effective ownership of the trains and related services in 2003 to an Australian company, and in 2008 back to the New Zealand Government at appreciable net cost.After a brief outline of railways in Australia, the paper notes how government rail in Tasmania, then owned and operated by the Australian National Railways Commission, was sold in 1997 with a track lease to a company related to TranzRail Holdings. The paper then notes emerging problems after initial success, and how after a change in ownership in 2004, the Tasmanian track lease was taken back by the public sector in 2007, followed by the trains in 2009.Other rail asset sales in Australia are also noted along with the high total costs of road vehicle operations in Australia and New Zealand.



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