Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Why not build the rail north now?

Why not build the rail north now?

by Ken Crispin, SecretaryCitizens Environmental Advocacy Centre


COLUMN
Re: IwiRail launched on public empathy and a wild dream, July 13 editorial.

We have a large transport library and have done some considerable research since NZ First launched its rail transport policy, Railways Of National Importance. Now the Maori Party has also come up with a policy suggesting that completing regional rail lines will increase the viability of rail services, making them more accessible and used more often. We agree, as evidence supports this.

History firstly showed that our prime minister and treasurer Sir Julius Vogel, as NZ’s premier politician, set out an ambitious rail plan for us in 1880.

Julius Vogel was a leader for planning infrastructure during the 1800s and set about to bring rail to Gisborne in 1880, with survey maps from that date through to 1899 showing two rail lines north to Auckland passing through Gisborne.

Originally the continuation of the railway line from Taneatua (near Whakatane) was to be extended to Opotiki on through the Waioeka Gorge to Gisborne linking to the Palmerston North -Gisborne line.
Work did begin, however, due to two world wars, an economic depression and an influenza epidemic, this ambitious extension to the railway line was never completed.

Since then several other route options have emerged, making the building of a rail line to Whakatane far more easily completed — not through the gorge, as the Waioeka gorge has proved quite unstable with several large slips in recent times. Another route option goes from Gisborne inland north to East Cape and around to Opotiki.

So the question we ask now of the Government is: Why did they spend $13 billion on double-laning the road from Hamilton through Rotorua to Tauranga, but did not consider any continuation of the rail line from Gisborne to Auckland — as several opposition political parties suggest now — especially since road building costs have been increasing due to the unstable land the roads in this region sit on?

Escalating road maintenance is just one issue. We all see the increased road surface damage, which makes travel more dangerous, as we drive on the roads we now share with increasing numbers of heavier trucks.

Extra consideration must now be given as Gisborne is the most isolated North Island community of its size — especially since the founding prime minister planned for this in 1880. Now, almost 140 years later, we still haven’t completed the line north.

Surely we can do better than this in his memory, and for our wealth, health, wellbeing and regional security.

We have marvellous earth-moving systems and machinery nowadays, such as the tunnel-boring machine used on Auckland’s Waterview tunnel, that may make this an easier job than it was then.

Our group has studied many negative environmental impacts to residential communities around New Zealand.

Both Gisborne and Napier share the dangers of 24/7 freight truck traffic producing excessive noise, vibration, air and tyre dust pollution that have now been certified as a public health hazard.These pollutants get into our rivers, streams and aquifers from road runoff, and into our drinking water.
We can all benefit when we use rail to move our freight around the country, saving both lives and the environment.

Local trucks will always be needed for freight distribution, but when we move freight north by road without the benefit of rail to ports such as Tauranga and Auckland, it is considered unsustainable.
Let us think wisely and plan for a future with environmentally-clean transport options.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

New Reports: Flood Risk From Rain And Sea Under Climate Change

One report looks at what would happen when rivers are flooded by heavy rain and storms, while the other examines flooding exposure in coastal and harbour areas and how that might change with sea-level rise.

Their findings show that across the country almost 700,000 people and 411,516 buildings worth $135 billion are presently exposed to river flooding in the event of extreme weather events...

There is near certainty that the sea will rise 20-30 cm by 2040. By the end of the century, depending on whether global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, it could rise by between 0.5 to 1.1 m, which could add an additional 116,000 people exposed to extreme coastal storm flooding. More>>

ALSO:

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On The Commerce Commission Fuel Report

The interim Commerce Commission report on the fuel industry will do nothing to endear the major oil companies to the New Zealand public... More>>

ALSO:

Emergency Govt Bill: Overriding Local Licensing For The Rugby

“It’s pretty clear some clubs are having difficulty persuading their district licensing committees to grant a special licence to extend their hours for this obviously special event, and so it makes sense for Parliament to allow clubs to meet a community desire." More>>

ALSO:

Leaving Contract Early: KiwiBuild Programme Losing Another Top Boss

Ms O'Sullivan began a six-month contract as head of KiwiBuild Commercial in February, but the Housing Ministry has confirmed she has resigned and will depart a month early to take up a new job. More>>

ALSO:

Proposed National Policy Statement: Helping Our Cities Grow Up And Out

“We need a new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up, especially in city centres and around transport connections. We also have to allow cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land." More>>

ALSO:

Ombudsman's Report: Ngāpuhi Elder 'Shocked' By Conditions At Ngawha Prison

A prominent Ngāpuhi elder is shocked to find inmates at Ngawha Prison are denied water and forced to relieve themselves in the exercise yard... Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released a report highly critical of conditions at the Northland prison. More>>

ALSO:

Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>

ALSO:

School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>

ALSO:

Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels