Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Big picture perspective needed on Gisborne transport access

Big picture perspective needed on Gisborne transport access

Media Statement
15 January 2013

“The release today of a Berl review of Kiwirail’s decision to mothball the Napier to Gisborne rail line raises some valid concerns about how strategic transport infrastructure decisions are made in New Zealand, but with such low transport demand in the region, both now and into the future, it is difficult to see how three separate yet competing transport connections for Gisborne can be sustained,” says Stephen Selwood CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

Last year Kiwirail determined that, following a washout of the only rail connection linking the city to the main line, there was no justification to repair the track and continue running a commercial loss. According to Kiwirail analysis, the line lost $2.4 million in the year before services were stopped. On this basis, the company has determined there to be no business case for spending an additional $4 million to reopen the line and $6 million annually over the long term to maintain it.

“Berl argue that in this instance a wider economic analysis which incorporates environmental and social impacts on the Gisborne community is required before a decision is made as to the future of the line. While such analysis is required from a national perspective in relation to transport connectivity to the region, it is not required by Kiwirail which operates under a more commercial model.

“There are some convincing reasons to take a wider view of the Kiwirail decision. Rail freight will be moved on to the state highway network with at least some impact on safety and traffic volume; environmental impacts have not been extensively considered, most notably carbon emissions; local interests are not measured; and more intangible strategic benefits to the region and nation are difficult to quantify.

“However, while wider factors should certainly be considered by the Government, it is extremely difficult to see under what scenario reinstating the Gisborne line could become a sound policy decision. Even if freight volumes doubled, the demand for which has not yet been identified, there is more than adequate capacity in the existing road connection. State Highway 2 is currently, and will continue to be, maintained for general traffic.

“It would be great to see a plan for the region that justified investment in both road and rail. With as few as 2000 vehicles per day using the route, even BERL's more ambitious projections of potential growth would still have little discernible impact on the road connection except to strengthen justification for safety improvements on the highway that are already needed.

“Furthermore, while this debate has been framed unhelpfully in the context of road versus rail, potentially the biggest impact of continuing to operate uneconomic rail services is on coastal shipping. Coastal shipping produces fewer emissions than rail and, like rail, is most competitive in the transport over long distances of non-perishable items. Road freight, in contrast, maintains a strong advantage in the transport of perishable goods and deliveries over shorter distances.

“So while the Berl report raises some important issues around the need for a bigger picture perspective, it does not create a strong case for revisiting Kiwirail’s decision on the Gisborne line. When public money is involved, an holistic view of transport access and connectivity is required, not a mode specific decision. But in this case, road and shipping capacity appears sufficient to maintain equivalent access to Gisborne and public subsidy of rail is unlikely to be justifiable.

“For the rail line to be reopened, a long term, fundable and economically viable transport and land use plan would need to be developed by Gisborne authorities demonstrating which activities will drive rail demand into the future and how these fit into a wider social, economic and environmental vision for the region. In the absence of this plan, mothballing and not closing the line appears on current evidence to be the right decision,” Selwood says.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Sky City : Auckland Convention Centre Cost Jumps By A Fifth

SkyCity Entertainment Group, the casino and hotel operator, is in talks with the government on how to fund the increased cost of as much as $130 million to build an international convention centre in downtown Auckland, with further gambling concessions ruled out. The Auckland-based company has increased its estimate to build the centre to between $470 million and $530 million as the construction boom across the country drives up building costs and design changes add to the bill.
More>>

ALSO:

RMTU: Mediation Between Lyttelton Port And Union Fails

The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining. More>>

Earlier:

Science Policy: Callaghan, NSC Funding Knocked In Submissions

Callaghan Innovation, which was last year allocated a budget of $566 million over four years to dish out research and development grants, and the National Science Challenges attracted criticism in submissions on the government’s draft national statement of science investment, with science funding largely seen as too fragmented. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Spark, Voda And Telstra To Lay New Trans-Tasman Cable

Spark New Zealand and Vodafone, New Zealand’s two dominant telecommunications providers, in partnership with Australian provider Telstra, will spend US$70 million building a trans-Tasman submarine cable to bolster broadband traffic between the neighbouring countries and the rest of the world. More>>

ALSO:

More:

Statistics: Current Account Deficit Widens

New Zealand's annual current account deficit was $6.1 billion (2.6 percent of GDP) for the year ended September 2014. This compares with a deficit of $5.8 billion (2.5 percent of GDP) for the year ended June 2014. More>>

ALSO:

Still In The Red: NZ Govt Shunts Out Surplus To 2016

The New Zealand government has pushed out its targeted return to surplus for a year as falling dairy prices and a low inflation environment has kept a lid on its rising tax take, but is still dangling a possible tax cut in 2017, the next election year and promising to try and achieve the surplus pledge on which it campaigned for election in September. More>>

ALSO:

Job Insecurity: Time For Jobs That Count In The Meat Industry

“Meat Workers face it all”, says Graham Cooke, Meat Workers Union National Secretary. “Seasonal work, dangerous jobs, casual and zero hours contracts, and increasing pressure on workers to join non-union individual agreements. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news