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KiwiRail budget cuts will compromise safety

26 February 2013

KiwiRail budget cuts will compromise safety

The tragic recent events at Morningside have highlighted the need to always put safety first, Green Party disability spokesperson Mojo Mathers said today.

A young woman trying to cross tracks in her electric wheelchair at Auckland’s Morningside Station, was struck by a train yesterday when her wheels became stuck in the tracks.

“Disability advocates have been raising concerns about Morningside for years,” said Ms Mathers.

“Kiwirail has failed to step up and it seems possible this is driven by a desire to stay within its tight budget.

“Pressure from the Government for KiwiRail to cut its budget over the next three years by $200 million raises the question of how KiwiRail is going to improve its safety standards,” said Ms Mathers.

“Of further concern is the Government’s decision to amend the Land Transport Management Act so that regional transport committees are no longer required to have access and mobility representatives.

“This move will have a negative impact on improving safety and access to public transport.

“When making decisions regarding transport the Government must take on board the concerns of representatives from Disabled Persons organisations and include them in its decision making process.

“Everything that can be done must be done to make sure our rail and land transport network is safe for all New Zealanders.

“A safe and accessible transport system benefits everyone, including the elderly, parents with pushchairs as well as people with disabilities.”

ENDS

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