$500m bid to buy railways rejected

Efforts by the Government to buy back the railways have stalled as it prepares to take a tough line with owner Toll NZ.

The Dominion Post understands that the Government, through state-owned network operator Ontrack, has offered up to $500 million for the Australian-owned Toll NZ assets, but talks stalled after the rail operator countered with a demand for well above $700 million.

Now a split of rail and trucking activities could be forced as the Government is poised to make Australian-owned Toll start paying the full price of access to the rail track network.

The original national rail track access agreement would have Toll paying Ontrack $57 million this year as well as charges for depreciation on the rail network.

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