Let’s support Regional Council’s rail proposal
Media Release September 28, 2001
‘Let’s support Regional Council’s rail proposal’ – Varnham to fellow candidates
Mayoral candidate Mary Varnham has written to all her fellow candidates urging them to support the Wellington Regional Council’s proposal to purchase local services in partnership with the private sector.
She says the proposal represents the last real hope of saving local rail services in the region, and is furious that Wellington city councillors have been given no opportunity to have a say on the issue.
‘Instead we have the bizarre spectacle of the current leadership making decisions on the issue unilaterally, without any consultation with the Council. This is, frankly, an abuse of democracy.’
The call comes on the eve of a meeting between mayors of the region on the proposal, which they have in the past been reluctant to support.
Varnham is keen to see the introduction of a modern light rail system into Wellington and says the Regional Council’s plan would make this possible.
‘The decrepit old units can be readily replaced with modern light rail vehicles, leased, as they are in Melbourne, to reduce the capital cost.
‘The next stage would be to extend light rail through the central business district and then the hospital and the airport.’
Varnham says enabling commuters from Johnsonville and the Hutt to travel all the way to their destinations in the CBD would reduce the number of cars coming into the city and greatly ease congestion.