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Overlander axing both shortsighted & small minded

Overlander axing both shortsighted and small minded

The Government's decision to allow the Overlander to be axed is utterly short-sighted and incredibly stupid, Green Party MP Sue Kedgley says

"At a time when the rest of the world is investing in upgrading their rail networks, we are dismantling ours.

"I cannot believe a Labour Government would sit back and allow a key passenger rail network to be scrapped in this way - without even trying to rescue it. Besides its tourism potential, the Overlander service is a lifeline for the small communities along the route.

"The Government had no difficulty finding $1.5 billion for new roads, but can't find $1.75 million a year to allow the service to continue for six months to two years while we search for an alternative way of making it viable.

"Hasn't the Government heard of climate change and peak oil? Instead of axing the service, we should be electrifying the main trunk line and encouraging more - not fewer New Zealanders - and much more freight to travel by rail.

"Equally distressing is news that Toll is shutting the Gisborne-Napier rail freight line. This is further evidence that the rail network of New Zealand is being dismantled and is disappearing before our eyes.

Our ancestors who had the vision and foresight to build the main trunk would be turning in their graves.

Our children in the future will also no doubt ask - what were they thinking about when they scrapped our rail network at the very time when we need to encourage forms of transport that do not rely on fossil fuels?

ENDS

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