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Greens welcome possible Southerner extension

23 August 2001

Greens welcome possible Southerner extension

The Green Party co-leader Rod Donald today welcomed the possibility that the Southerner train service will run longer than the end of September, and hopefully at least until Christmas.

"I am very pleased that the Government and Tranz Rail are looking to keep the Southerner running until Christmas to give all parties, including councils, time to properly assess the long term viability of the service," he said.

The Greens have been calling for the Southerner to be kept running until Christmas so that local councils and interested parties can correctly measure the future feasibility of the service.

Mr Donald said the Government should commit to keeping both the Southerner and the Bay Express running until the end of the year, during which time the ongoing viability of these services could be properly assessed.

" We need to keep our passenger rail services running because of their contribution to regional tourism and local travel. We need to get long-haul freight off our public roads and onto rail.

"Yesterday and today I have met with the mayors of Rotorua, Hamilton and Tauranga and with the Bay of Plenty and Waikato Regional Councils and have urged them along with the mayor of Napier to make a similar approach to the Government to achieve an interim extension for the threatened North Island services," he said.

ENDS



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