Do It Yourself, Minister Tells Hawke’s Bay
Denis O’Rourke MP
10 April 2014
DO IT YOURSELF, MINISTER TELLS HAWKE’S BAY
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee told Parliament today that if Hawke’s Bay ratepayers are so sure the Gisborne to Napier rail link is so good they should restore it themselves.
New Zealand First Transport Spokesperson Denis O’Rourke says he is disappointed with the Minister’s response to questions relating to re-establishing the mothballed line.
“The Minister dismissed and belittled the proposal for a partnership between the council and local investors to pay for a new freight operation on the line by leasing it from KiwiRail and buying the necessary rolling stock from it. They asked the Government only for $3 million to $4 million for the restoration of the damaged track and associated infrastructure.
“What the Minister didn’t explain was why the National Government won’t invest a paltry sum while it is spending billions on Roads of National Significance (RONS) projects.
“All the evidence shows the investment is a sensible and smart move, particularly as the forest harvest in the region will take off in future years,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“The log harvest is expected to grow from 90,000 tonnes a year to about 900,000 tonnes within a few years, significantly increasing the number of trucks and congestion on the road.
“The Government’s out of hand refusal to seriously consider the regional council’s proposal, given its modest cost but large potential benefit, shows how lacking in vision its transport policy is,” says Mr O’Rourke.