Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Crucial decisions looming on rail


Crucial decisions looming on rail

The Government is due to make a major decision on Auckland's rail system this week and Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons is urging Ministers to look at the big picture.

Auckland local bodies are wanting Government to pay a share of the $112m they have negotiated to pay Tranz Rail to regain control of the tracks in Auckland. But the Green Party says this is not the only need.

Tranz Rail also wants out of passenger services in Wellington and intends to close the Napier - Gisborne line altogether. There is even a question hanging over the Rotorua line if no-one picks up the passenger service there.

"The Auckland decision must be part of a national strategy on rail in New Zealand," said Ms Fitzsimons. "It is dangerous to fragment control of the track in a series of piecemeal arrangements. It would also be dangerous if $112 million for a few dozen kilometres of track in Auckland set the price for the rest of the entire rail system.

Transport Minister Mark Gosche promised the Auckland Regional Council a decision on the Government's involvement by the end of the month and a question in the House gave the same date for a solution to Gisborne's rail problem. This suggests the decisions are due at Cabinet on Monday, but it seems unlikely these decisions will deal with the future of the rail system as a whole.

"Even the Minister assisting the Prime Minister on Auckland Issues, Judith Tizard, said in Parliament in December that the Auckland proposal has to be evaluated in the light of a national rail policy," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"A well maintained, efficient rail infrastructure is critical to an integrated transport system," she said. "We need it to haul heavy freight like the logs which will come on stream when forestry plantings mature on the East Coast, central north island and Northland.

"If the rail system is not up to the job, the cost of upgrading roads to take these loads will be enormous."

Ms Fitzsimons said rail was also essential for commuter transport in Auckand and Wellington because rail, with its own right of way, beats the traffic jams every time.

"We also need a national rail strategy to meet our Kyoto Greenhouse gas targets because rail uses only a quarter the energy per tonne mile that trucks do. Yet little by little we are losing services and track maintenance is falling behind."

Ms Fitzsimons said the Greens were as keen as anyone to see Auckland have rail passenger transport but wanted to see nationwide solutions while that was still possible.

"The Government needs an integrated strategy to 'get New Zealand back on track'," said Ms Fitzsimons.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>

ALSO:

Corrections Corrected: Supreme Court Rules On Release Dates

Corrections has always followed the lawful rulings of the Court in its calculation of sentence release dates. On four previous occasions, the Court of Appeal had upheld Corrections’ practices in calculating pre-sentence detention. More>>

ALSO:

Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>

ALSO:

General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news