Widening transport options

Wairoa Star, Wairoa East Coast by STUART NASH 15 Feb 2018

GOVERNMENTS have been involved in the business of building railway lines and rail freight and passenger and tourism services for around 150 years, since the early Colonial Treasurer Julius Vogel first began to “think big”.

But some governments have a better record than others. The previous government decided more roads were the answer to any question in the transport area. Our rail network was seriously neglected as a consequence.

An independent study last year by consultants EY estimated New Zealand could save $1.5 billion a year if we invested properly in Kiwirail and its rail network. I support this type of investment. It would reduce carbon emissions, lessen vehicle congestion, and contribute to more efficient freight logistics and fuel consumption.

We do want to bring back the rail line from Napier to Wairoa, and ideally extend that to Gisborne. This would support regional economic development, especially in forestry, but also has the potential to be considered as a passenger transport and tourism option.

The new government is also working on a much wider programme of regional economic development policy. We aim to revitalise the regions and a large part of doing that is to make better use of smarter, cleaner, cheaper and more efficient modes of transport.

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