Parliament

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

Gordon Campbell: On Malaysia Exposing Our Dodgy Policies On China

Last week, we all owed a vote of thanks to Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad for breaking with protocol during his bilateral meeting in Singapore with New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern. Reportedly, Mahathir used the photo opportunity phase of the meeting – which usually involves just an exchange of smiles and pleasantries before the media is sent out of the room – to launch into matters of genuine substance.

By doing so, Mahathir usefully exposed how New Zealand is trying to make a virtue out of sitting on the fence over the South China Sea dispute. More>>

 

Joint Statement: Chile President's NZ Visit

At the invitation of the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, undertook a State Visit to New Zealand on 19 November 2018... More>>

ALSO:

Climate Change: Top Academics Call On Government To Take Action

One hundred and fifty academics and researchers from around Aotearoa, including Dame Anne Salmond, Emeriti Professors and several Fellows of the Royal Society, have signed a strongly-worded open letter to the Government demanding bold and urgent action to tackle climate change. More>>

ALSO:

Teacher Qualifications, Class Sizes: Ten Year Plan For Early Learning

“Moving towards 100 percent qualified teachers in early childhood education centres and improving adult:child ratios are among some of the key proposals for change put forward by the sector and experts in the new draft ten year strategic plan for early learning,” Chris Hipkins said. More>>

ALSO:

Teacher Strikes: Meeting, March And Rally In Wellington

Throughout the Wellington region the NZEI rolling strikes entered their final day Friday. Thousands of teachers met in Wellington, Kapiti, Porirua and the Wairarapa. More>>

ALSO:

14/11: Two Years’ Progress Since The Kaikoura Earthquake

Mayor John Leggett said it was a day for reflection, but also a time to recognise the work by many people to support progress towards recovery made across Marlborough since November 2016. More>>

ALSO:

Pike River: Mine Drift Re-Entry Plan To Proceed

“I’ve decided the Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa - Pike River Recovery Agency, recommended course of action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option,” said Andrew Little. More>>

ALSO:

Appointments: New High Commissioner To Australia Announced

“Dame Annette King needs no introduction given her long running career as a parliamentarian where she has previously held a number senior Cabinet portfolios, including Justice, Police and Health. She also was Parliament’s longest serving female MP with 30 years’ service,” said Mr Peters. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels