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Homegrown railway wagons: Return to 1980s ‘Polish shipyard’ economy

Like New Zealand’s government-protected car industry of the 1980s, taxpayers are set to pay more because politicians have caved in to KiwiRail and its dream to make domestic railway wagons.

“The lesson of the twentieth century that central planning and protected industries make countries poorer is being forgotten by the Government,” says Jordan Williams of the Taxpayers’ Union.

“It’s bad enough that KiwiRail spending is not subject to road-transport style cost-benefit analysis, but now whole industries are being supported in a way not seen since fortress New Zealand was smashed in the 1980s.”

“Individually, this decision will not make us much poorer – railway wagons are a tiny spend in the grand scheme of things. But it’s the thin end of the wedge. What’s to stop the next industry coming along for the same subsidies on the basis that it’s nice to have a domestic market for something that has a special interest group?”

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