Yes according to the NZ Herald, Ontrack, the state owned company responsible for the railway network, wants another $400 million to upgrade the rail network.
To which I say - fine - once the government owns the rest of the railway operations, let Ontrack borrow the money and repay it from track access charges from the people who will people from it - the rail freight customers.
Let's ignore this pleading from the Ontrack CEO, which is a try on to force YOU to pay for it:
"Compared with some other forms of infrastructure development, the planned investment in rail is modest and will enable rail to grow and take pressure off the roads - saving money, improving safety and benefiting the environment,"
It's modest! $100 for every man woman and child. So go on Cam Moore, start walking around your neighbourhood and ask for the money from every household, per person of course. See if THEY think $100 is modest. If you wont ask the customers, why not ask the people you REALLY want to force to pay for it?
and what is this "compared with other forms". You mean like airports which make a profit and pay dividends? You mean like telcos and power companies that do the same? You mean like the road network which generates enough revenue that it can reinvest in upgrading the network and throw 15% of its money at public transport (including YOUR network)?
How does it "save money", when your network costs more to maintain than the users are prepared to pay, but the road network generates more revenue than it costs to maintain? and safety and the environment? Well go on say how many lives it will save, and the environmental claims are dubious at best.
So good on you Ontrack, get the bucket out and go door to door to do fundraising, because the appropriate answer to the question "can taxpayers pay", should be rather obvious.
Great investment Dr Cullen, yep, economic genius.