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The Customer Retention Department: Every Man’s Oprah

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Posted by 5uSsM9 | Posted in Public Relations | Posted on 15-09-2017

By Kurt Hartman

No matter how old, or what sex you are, you probably love getting free stuff. You’ve seen that episode of Oprah every year, where grown women lose their ever-loving minds over a pair of sandals. They might not even like the sandals they are getting. They just know something better is just around the corner.

Chances are, you can’t get a ticket to Oprah’s show, much less that particular show, as getting on there is completely random. If you’re a guy like me, you could care less what Oprah says about, well…anything. I’d still smile and take the free stuff if it was offered.

I have good news for you guys: Better things are around the corner. There is department in pretty much every corporation that has the authority to give you free stuff. It’s called “Customer Retention”. See, as a consumer, even in a contractual situation, you have the right to complain, or at least ask for a better deal. CR is the only department that has the right to grant you the free stuff.

Why in the world would a company give stuff away? Well, it cost them quite a bit in the form of marketing, reputation management, and good, old-fashioned elbow grease to get you in the first place. Marketing data suggests that it will take them 12 times as much to get you back if they lose you. If you do the math, you can see why a little hush money would be worth paying out. Why lose money, when they can break even for awhile, and then continue to turn a profit?

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Let me guess, you think I am full of a foul-smelling substance? Fine. Let’s take a walk back to the ultra-competitive days of dial-up internet. Do you remember a little company by the name of AOL. What did they do marketing wise? Hmmm…I believe you dedicated a small room in your house to all those promotional install discs they sent you. Then, you signed up for your 90 hour free trial. This, as fate would have it, was exactly how long it took to download a song.

You were happy, until you figured out that everyone else received a free CD as well, and all numbers at AOL were busy. You decided to call and cancel. Here’s where CR stepped in. They said ” Oh, I am terribly sorry that you are unhappy, we’ll give you another month of our service free.” Since they were such terribly nice people, you decided to to take them up on their offer. After this month, AOL increased their ability to handle your areas call. Then they billed you at the full $30-a-month for the next 4 months. You kept forgetting to cancel. When you finally got around to it, AOL had a slightly worse, but better deal for you: $19.95 for the next three months. You eventually canceled. The CD’s kept coming, long after you switched to Compuserve, Prodigy, or even DSL. They spent tons of money trying to regain your business.

Do you believe me now? Or….can you hear me now? Ah, the customer retention gold mine, Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T. These people want your business. See, what phone companies don’t tell the general public, is that they don’t start making a profit on any customer until the very end of a two year contract. The infrastructure, hardware development, and customer support(..ha…ha) cost them quite a bit. Once they reach the end of that term, however, they just watch the money roll in. For this reason, they love it when you get sick of your old phone, and decide to become an indentured servant at the end of your first two year term. Oh, yes. More money, zero effort. Who wouldn’t love a deal like that?

Ding.ding.ding.ding….the consumer, or as like to refer to them: YOU. So, how do you get free stuff? I’ll start with Sprint, as an ideal example. Although they have been a really lousy service provider (except for their mobile broadband product), they are fairly aware of their sub-par reputation, and their customer retention is extremely attentive. How attentive? Well, let’s see. When my company mentioned to switching to AT&T, suddenly, Sprint found a way to chop off 25% of our bill. Then, they gave us 2 months(nearly $3000) of service free. “But”, you will say, “you’re a company. You have leverage that I don’t.” Alright, I’ll give you another example: I know a guy that has received a top-of-the-line phone from Sprint every single time he has asked for it. He’s just an average customer, with a line for him and his wife. This is not the the bargain basement, $30 promo phone. This is the tricked out $400 PDA, with all the niceties included.

How does he do it? With a single call. He rings up Sprint, asks for their customer retention dept., and will not speak with anyone but customer retention. This is a very important step. In fact, it’s the only step, and it is very hard to implement. Why? Nobody wants to send you to Customer Retention. Customer Retention is the place most people send you’ve spoken with first level support, and a couple of supervisors. You can skip all that junk by just requesting them in the first place. After that, you and Customer Retention just have to come to an agreement on terms. Our friend with the free PDA just gives his demands, and Sprint gives him the tracking number for his new phone. No muss, minimal fuss.

I would also state the only rule, which explains the reason for the only step: Don’t talk to people who can’t help you achieve your goal. If you don’t know it already, phone centers are divided into teams and hierarchies. They are also bound by certain rules. Do you know what their first rule is? Never offer to let someone talk to your Supervisor. Whatever you get from a company’s first line of defense, you will have to ask for. Customer Retention is way up the ladder where conflict resolution is concerned. They are the nuclear option. I repeat: Ask to speak to them FIRST.

Now, I must also state that you will have varying degrees of success with this method. Some companies aren’t as generous,are too small to offer these benefits, or just don’t care. If the company you are dealing with falls into the last category, you are better off arguing your way out of the contract, and moving on. For those who are willing to hang in there, a treasure trove of services, discounts, and flat-out awesome await.

By the way, don’t abuse this information. Don’t call just because you can, and certainly not if this your first month of service. These companies want to retain customers, not bottomless money-pits. You want a great deal and even better service. Putting them out of business will not get you either. However, if your company is not delivering these things, don’t be shy about taking your pound of flesh.

Now, go forth and reprint this article, help others get the service and money they are due. I’m going to see if Oprah has a Customer Retention department.

About the Author: Kurt Hartman works hard, plays hard, fights for truth, justice, and uses entirely too many commas. His day job is as an OTR analyst for a company that sells

giant otr tires

. Who does that? Kurt does.

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New denunciations of political corruption create severe political crisis in Brazil

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Posted by 5uSsM9 | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 15-09-2017

Monday, June 6, 2005

Brazil – The Brazilian Deputy Roberto Jefferson told the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo that the ruling Workers’ Party (PT) has paid Brazilian deputies 30 thousand Brazilian Reals (US 12 thousand) each, every month. Deputy Jefferson is the President of the Brazilian Labour Party (PTB) and he is accused of directing a corrupt scheme that involves the Brazilian postal service. The PTB is an ally of the government.

Jefferson’s allegations increase the severe political crisis regarding the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Lula has convened a special meeting to discuss the crisis in the government. Because of the recent scandal Brazilian stock markets went down and the U.S. Dollar increased its value in relation to the Brazilian Real.

The Brazilian Senate and the Chamber of Deputies are discussing the installation of a special congressional commission to investigate the allegations. The first attempt of the Brazilian government to prevent the creation of the Congress’ special commission (convincing some deputies not to endorse the commission’s creation) has failed. Now the government is trying to stop the creation of the commission in the Senate and is lobbying against it in the Congress, trying to influence both senators and deputies.

The opposition party, PSDB, criticized recently the efforts of the Brazilian government to stop the special commission of investigation, using the influence of the Minister of the Economy Antonio Palocci.

The Workers’ Party published in its webpage a note denying Jefferson’s allegations and saying that it supports investigations by Brazilian authorities. The Brazilian Minister Waldir Pires has said in an interview with Agencia Brasil that the denunciations of corruption are appearing more because the government is fighting against them. He also blamed previous governments by the corruption.

In a note in the Workers’ Party website, the party accuses the former-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso government of corruption.

On April 2005, the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Cesar Maia, denounced the Workers’ Party payment to deputies.

The allegations of Jefferson marks the beginnings of a severe crisis in Brazilian government. This is the most severe crisis since the impeachment of the former President Fernando Collor de Mello in 1992.

Politicians from the opposition said that they don’t want the impeachment of Lula, however they demand the investigation of all denunciations and that the guilty be punished.

NASA sets launch date for Space Shuttle Discovery

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Posted by 5uSsM9 | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 15-09-2017

Saturday, March 7, 2009

After almost two months of delay, NASA has set March 11 as the launch date for Space Shuttle Discovery. On February 22, NASA had stated that they indefinitely delayed the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, which was originally scheduled for takeoff on February 12. Launch was then further delayed until February 25 before being delayed indefinitely on February 22. NASA cited the need for additional time to evaluate the shuttle’s hydrogen fuel flow control valves.

Liftoff is set for nighttime on Wednesday, March 11, at approximately 9:20 p.m. (EST) from Launch Complex 39A in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The official countdown to launch will commence Sunday, March 8.

“The team came through, worked hard and was efficient. It’s time now to step back and think of everything else we need to watch before launch on the 11th. There’s no better team than this one and I thank them for putting the right analysis together,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations at NASA.

NASA wanted to perform additional tests on the valves which control the amount of hydrogen fuel pumped into the external tank when the shuttle is taking off before making a decision to launch. When Space Shuttle Endeavour went into space in November 2008, one of the valves broke. NASA fears that if one breaks off on this mission, then it could damage the outside of the shuttle.

The current scheduled mission, STS-119, is set to fly the Integrated Truss Structure segment (“S” for starboard, the right side of the station, and “6” for its place at the very end of the starboard truss) and install the final set of power-generating solar arrays to the International Space Station. The arrays consist of two 115-foot-long arrays, for a total wing span of 240 feet, including the equipment that connects the two halves and allows them to twist as they track the sun. Altogether, the four sets of arrays can generate 84 to 120 kilowatts of electricity – enough to provide power for more than 40 average homes.

Commander Lee Archambault will lead Discovery’s crew of seven, along with Pilot Tony Antonelli, and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, John Phillips, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata.

Rokot launches three Gonets satellites

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Posted by 5uSsM9 | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 15-09-2017

Friday, May 23, 2008

Three Gonets satellites have been launched by the Russian Space Forces atop a Ukranian-built Rokot carrier rocket. Lift-off, from site 133 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia, occurred at 15:20:09 GMT this afternoon.

The three Gonets satellites will be used to provide store-dump communication services. This is the second launch of modernised Gonets-D1M satellites. They will be operated by Gonets SatCom, an organisation which was previously part of the Russian Federal Space Agency, but which was privatised in 1996. Whilst Gonets is a civilian system, it has been reported that these satellites will also be used for military applications. Reports have suggested that the satellites have received military designations of Kosmos-2437, 2438 and 2439 under the Kosmos system. Such designations have previously been assigned to, and in some cases later removed from, civilian satellites.

A small technology demonstration satellite, Yubileiny, was also launched. It was built to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 1, and will be operated by NPO PM. It will broadcast audio and visual programmes on amateur radio frequencies, detailing the history of the space programmes of Russia and the Soviet Union, as well as signals imitating those of Sputnik 1.

The Rokot is a small carrier rocket derived from the UR-100 missile. Its upper stage, the Briz-KM, is a scaled-down version of the Briz-M upper stage used on Proton rockets. This is the first launch of a Briz upper stage of either type since the failure of a Briz-M during a March Proton launch, which left the AMC-14 satellite stranded in Medium Earth orbit.

This is the 25th orbital launch of 2008 in spaceflight, and the 13th launch of a Rokot. The next Rokot launch is scheduled for early-mid September, with the GOCE satellite for the European Space Agency.

Importance Of Clean Underwear}

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Posted by 5uSsM9 | Posted in Health | Posted on 13-09-2017

Submitted by: Lorabella

All of us love our bodies and take utmost care and look after our bodies to the best of our capabilities. Whenever we buy clothes, we make sure their fit, size, fabric etc are in perfect tandem with our body shape and that they do not irritate our skin. We also take good care of these clothes so as to maintain them and wear them over a long period of time. Both Men and women are extremely careful while buying their undergarments since they not only provide protection and support but also enhance the body shape.

It is very important to maintain a regular habit of wearing clean underwear. Clean underwear gives off a good hygienic picture of your habits and saves you at awkward situations.

Before we move on to discuss the importance of clear underwear for women, lets take a quick look at how their counterparts (men) fare when it comes to personal hygiene and clean underwear.

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Generally men are less conscious about the cleanliness of their undergarments as compared to women. It has also been observed and recorded that men do not change their undergarments as often as women do. This is the reason men are more prone to skin rashes and fungal infections around their genitalia.

In men, heavy perspiration and accumulation of the sweat around the genitalia makes it imperative for them to have a shower. Firstly, if discharges like semen, small traces of urine and faeces remain on the underwear, it begins to rot giving off a bad stench. Secondly, the underwear also begins to wear off leading to discomfit. The torn underwear leads to these bodily discharges sticking to the garments and wearing them off over the period of time. Slowly it leads to fungal activity and a full-blown fungal disease.

As for women, bodily discharges like sweat, menstruation and virginal discharges make personal hygiene a must. Women are trained right from their childhood about proper hygienic practices. Cleaning underwear and changing them regularly during the periods is the most widely accepted practice followed by default by most women.

Performing household chores is not a mean feat. And changing undergarments regularly and allocating time regularly to doing laundry for everyday lingerie and undergarments is not a small activity either. But this should be done in order to wash off the stains on the undergarments and relieve them from the sweat and stench.

One good way of maintaining good underwear is to change them regularly after a shower and soak them in warm water. This kills the germs and frees the underwear of the sweat and stains as well. And this is quite easy to do as well, isnt it?

Another good way of maintaining good underwear is to use cotton underwear. They make washing easier. Also, they can half reduce a host of problems arising due to dirty underwear, like – skin irritation and fungal infections, body odour and other problems arising due to poor hygiene during menstruation and the use of tampons. This is the reason why many women prefer cotton underwear.

Good and clean underwear is essential for personal hygiene and to keep away infections and skin diseases. Personal hygiene doesnt take much effort. And when you are healthy, you feel more confident and look more comfortable.

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Category:Health

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Posted by 5uSsM9 | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 13-09-2017

This is the category for Health. See also the Health Portal.

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  • 28 April 2017: Shrink-wrapped sheep survive: Researchers say ‘Biobag’ artificial uterus, successful on lambs, may one day be suitable for use on premature human babies
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False cancer cure claims lead to federal charges against five US companies

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Posted by 5uSsM9 | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 13-09-2017

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The United States Federal Trade Commission filed charges against five companies for “deceptive advertising of bogus cancer cures”. An additional six companies also named in the federal agency’s complaint have settled and their cases will not go into litigation; however, they will be required to send letters to their former customers, and four will be forced to offer reimbursement

The five companies charged are Omega Supply, San Diego, California; Native Essence Herb Company, El Prado, New Mexico; Daniel Chapter One, Portsmouth, Rhode Island; Gemtronics, Inc., Franklin, North Carolina, and Herbs for Cancer, Surprise, Arizona. According to Lydia Parnes, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, “There is no credible scientific evidence that any of the products marketed by these companies can prevent, cure, or treat cancer of any kind.”

Attorney Richard Jaffe who represents the firm Native Essence, one of the companies charged, protested against the FDA’s action. “In our view it’s a battle between the right to speak and the government’s censorship.” Native Essence sells herbal supplements and informs customers of herbs that have historic use for cancer and other ailments. Jaffe asserts the claim of historic use is truthful and does not necessarily mean that the herb is effective. Other items marketed by the companies named in the action include laetrile, essiac tea, mushroom extracts, and black salve. FDA representative Douglas Stearn expressed concern that people who have cancer may select these items instead of treatments that have been studied and found effective, or that unstudied herbal treatments could produce drug interactions with conventional medicine.

Before filing legal action the FTC sent over 100 warning letters and many firms dropped or changed the health claims for their products. In conjunction with the announcement the FDA announced a new website http://www.ftc.gov/curious that urges cancer patients to discuss all treatments they consider trying with their physicians, warns about the dangers of delaying or stopping cancer treatments in favour of alternative medicine, and gives advice about spotting and reporting false health claims.

“Junk” foods may affect aggressive behaviour and school performance

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Posted by 5uSsM9 | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 13-09-2017

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Dr. Stephen Schoenthaler, a Professor of Criminal Justice at the California State University in Stanislaus, has long argued that there is a link between a healthy diet and decreased aggressive behaviour, as well as with increased IQ and school performance.

Dr. Schoenthaler is well-known for a youth detention center study where violations of house rules fell by 37% when vending machines were removed and the cafeteria replaced canned food by fresh alternatives. He summarizes his findings by saying that “Having a bad diet right now is a better predictor of future violence than past violent behaviour.” In a very large test, Schoenthaler directed a study in meals at 803 New York City schools, in low-income neighbourhoods, finding that the number of students passing final exams increased by 16%.

Critics have questioned some of Dr. Schoenthaler findings, due to the lack of placebo control groups. However, more recent work by Dr. Bernard Gesch, a physiologist at the University of Oxford, has placed some of the work on a more scientific footing. Dr. Gesch found that nutrition supplements produced a 26% drop in violations of prison rules over a placebo, and a 37% decrease in violent offences. The Netherlands has embarked on a wider scale dietary research program in 14 prisons.

The short term behaviour consequences of ingesting sugar are well understood: an initial burst on energy, followed a sugar low in which your body produces adrenalin, which makes you irritable and explosive. However, Schoenthaler and Gesch suggest that there are long term impacts over and above the short term consequences of blood sugar variations.

How To Use Budgeting Software Programs}

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Posted by 5uSsM9 | Posted in Financial Services | Posted on 13-09-2017

Submitted by: Chave Zance

Does your money control you, or do you know how to control it? If your money is still controlling you, now is the time to set up a system to track your personal finances. If you want peace of mind and to be able to stretch your funds in these tough economic times, financial planning is a must.

Here’s How You Can Use Budgeting Software Programs to Plan Your Finances and Take Control of Your Family’s Future

1.Set up an account

Calendar Budget makes it easy to create a budget. The first month is free, and they have monthly plans for as low as $4.95. Their budgeting software programs will rapidly create a budget for you to follow. This software gives you a means of analyzing your assets whenever you like and to control upcoming expenses or paying off debts. Calendar Budget is a useful tool for keeping track of your money.

2.Enter your financial information

Calendar Budget lets you to keep pace with things such as groceries, utilities, rent and mortgage payments, school fees, clothes and other monthly bills. Once you enter your financial information the budgeting software programs will tell you when your average expenses increase so you can always stay in control. You can also include investment information and add in all of your other financial information.

3.Create your budget

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Budgeting software programs are useful on a personal level, because making a budget can be hard. They work more or less like a smart checkbook that automatically balances and recommends ways to save money. You can now access budgeting software programs directly online or even through a smart phone. Your budget can help you with short and medium term goals such as buying new items and can also help you track investments over the long term. Calendar Budget tracks the way you spend money, and even more importantly, the software helps you put away some funds in case of emergencies.

4.Stick to the plan

Sticking to your budget can mean the difference between surviving on Ramen noodles while you wait to get paid, and eating well with enough money left over for savings and investments. Modern budgeting software programs make creating and maintaining a household budget so easy anyone could do it. Finally, the technology is here to take the hard work out of making a budget.

With you can easily import transactions from your online banking to keep your plan up to date. This is great if you’re not into math or you don’t have time to work figures manually. Note that since it necessitates access into your banking data it’s important that you use a trustworthy company like for your financial planning.

Does your money control you, or do you know how to control it? If your money is still controlling you, now is the time to set up a system to track your personal finances. If you want peace of mind and to be able to stretch your funds in these tough economic times, financial planning is a must.

Here’s How You Can Use Budgeting Software Programs to Plan Your Finances and Take Control of Your Family’s Future

1.Set up an account

Calendar Budget makes it easy to create a budget. The first month is free, and they have monthly plans for as low as $4.95. Their budgeting software programs will rapidly create a budget for you to follow. This software gives you a means of analyzing your assets whenever you like and to control upcoming expenses or paying off debts. Calendar Budget is a useful tool for keeping track of your money.

2.Enter your financial information

Calendar Budget lets you to keep pace with things such as groceries, utilities, rent and mortgage payments, school fees, clothes and other monthly bills. Once you enter your financial information the budgeting software programs will tell you when your average expenses increase so you can always stay in control. You can also include investment information and add in all of your other financial information.

3.Create your budget

Budgeting software programs are useful on a personal level, because making a budget can be hard. They work more or less like a smart checkbook that automatically balances and recommends ways to save money. You can now access budgeting software programs directly online or even through a smart phone. Your budget can help you with short and medium term goals such as buying new items and can also help you track investments over the long term. Calendar Budget tracks the way you spend money, and even more importantly, the software helps you put away some funds in case of emergencies.

4.Stick to the plan

Sticking to your budget can mean the difference between surviving on Ramen noodles while you wait to get paid, and eating well with enough money left over for savings and investments. Modern budgeting software programs make creating and maintaining a household budget so easy anyone could do it. Finally, the technology is here to take the hard work out of making a budget.

With you can easily import transactions from your online banking to keep your plan up to date. This is great if you’re not into math or you don’t have time to work figures manually. Note that since it necessitates access into your banking data it’s important that you use a trustworthy company like for your financial planning.

About the Author: CalendarBudget improves your financial productivity by using Budget Manager which helpful to plan easily and create A budget Planner to track your expenses, your incomes and your savings. We offer best Budget Software Programs that fits into your requirements and adhere to budget constraints.For more information please visit us

calendarbudget.com/

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New Zealand government denies financial assistance for Overlander

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Posted by 5uSsM9 | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 13-09-2017

Monday, September 25, 2006

The New Zealand government today has announced that they will not provide financial assistance to the Overlander train service between Auckland and Wellington, which is set to stop service on September 30, if no assistance is forthcoming. ONTRACK will retain the North Island main trunk line, while looking for tourism operators to start a tourist rail service.

Trevor Mallard, acting Finance Minister, said: “In making this decision… Cabinet recognised that there was no prospect of the current Overlander service becoming commercially viable. It was not a fuel-efficient operation and at an average passenger rate of 50 passengers each way per day, it was used by relatively few people.”

It is cheaper and faster to travel either by bus or plane rather than the 12-hour train journey. “The fares already overlap with airfares, and the reality is that the service is just not well-used. It can not compete with low-priced air travel and coaches. Cabinet considered the regional implications of ceasing the Overlander service and accepted that the current bus services run by the InterCity Group met the needs of those communities,” Mallard said.

There has been numerous petitions from the public and from the Green Party of New Zealand to continue the Overlander train service, including one petition signed by 16,000 people presented at the Parliament Buildings on September 14, 2006. “While there have been a number of propositions about retaining the Overlander service, all of the propositions would require government funding in one form or another,” said Mallard.

Mallard said that the government will only support rail services if it significantly benefitted the community.

The Government estimates that financial assistance to the Overlander train service would cost NZ$1.75 million a year.

“Finally, the government does recognise and value the importance of a viable and efficient rail network in New Zealand’s transport infrastructure. This was a critical factor in the government’s decision to buy the rail network back from Tranz Rail. The government has also committed $200 million to upgrade the national rail network between 2004/05 and 2007/08. A further $600 million has been provided to upgrade the Auckland rail network between 2005/06 and 2009/10.”