The railways corporation sale was probably the worst of the privatization's of the rogernomics period . Yes it was a labour government , but the country had been run by an almost dicatotorial Mouldoon , who tired to fix the economy by regulating almost every single price / service / exchange rate etc .
The thing was , the government owned railways corporation had done most of the hard work usually undertaken by privatization . mainly in the form of reducing the work force , from around 20 000 to 5000 . nz rail , as it was sold was in good condition , and a bargain at around $ 300 million .
then came the sale , unbeliveably ( but little known to the public including myself ) to a consortuim led by NZ company , Fay Ritchwaite , and backed mainly by American wisconisin central . That Fay ritchwaite was the governments advisor on the sale process was not publicy discussed , and the obvious conflict of interest was not challenged as it should of been . while public mistrust was of the american partners, it was the Nz company that borrowed money to buy thier share , and then sold rails assets to pay back the loans . in the process getting thier shares for virtually nothing . as any student of railway operation would know , asset stripping is probably the worst thing you can do . Most problems since have been caused by lack of capital .
hopefully , the government investment in the track , and tolls investment in rolling stock should help to fix the degradation since privatization
Moderator worldwide railfan
, Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.