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Probable u-turn on Auckland rail link welcomed

26 June 2013

Probable u-turn on Auckland rail link welcomed

The Government’s probable u-turn on building the city rail link in Auckland is a major win for Aucklanders and the Green Party who has been relentlessly campaigning for more than five years to get the project started.

“John Key and National have spent the last five years actively blocking the city rail link. This is a massive, but welcomed, u-turn from them,” said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.

“The Government has thrown the kitchen sink at stopping the rail link. They concocted bogus reports to undermine the economic case for the rail link and withheld funding for it despite strong support from Aucklanders for the project.

“National’s probable u-turn on the rail link shows their campaign against smart green transport has failed.

“The Green Party made building the Auckland rail link a priority in the 2011 election and has been running a major campaign called Reconnect Auckland since April this year.

“Thousands of Aucklanders have signed up to our Reconnect Auckland petition. Three hundred have become active volunteers to help with the campaign, and I have spoken to nearly 600 Aucklanders about the rail link and smart transport at meetings of business and community groups in recent months.

“We have made more than 4000 phone calls to Auckland residents and for those who answered, more than 75 percent support the city rail link.

“The Government is offside with Aucklanders who want the rail link built. This major back down is a win for all those who have campaigned for the project.

“I look forward to seeing the details later in the week. We would hope that the Government makes a direct investment from the transport budget rather than looking to private finance which has been problematic in transport projects overseas.

“Privatising rail will mean more costs for commuters and taxpayers, and would put a major piece of public infrastructure at the mercy of a private company.

“This needs to be a publically owned rail line and it needs to be completed by 2021,” said Ms Genter.

ENDS

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