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Foolish Rejection of Commuter Rail Carries National’s Hallma

Denis O’Rourke MP

Spokesperson for Transport
23 JULY 2014

Foolish Rejection of Commuter Rail Carries National’s Hallmark - Shortsightedness

Total madness – that’s how future generations will label the rejection of the Christchurch to North Canterbury commuter rail service, says New Zealand First.

“Given that there is funding available to meet this low-cost project, the decision makers are demonstrating a lack of vision that is a hallmark typical of the National Government,” says Transport Spokesperson Denis O’Rourke.

“They have totally ignored the congested roads, the increasing populations north of Christchurch, the pollution and the jobs a commuter service would create.

“The decision makers cite the $10 million cost. New Zealand First’s Railways of National Importance policy will easily fund this project by diverting money from National’s obsession with road building.

“We would also put direct Crown grants towards the project. New Zealand First would see that the government fully funded the rail link so that ratepayers would not be left with the burden. We’re talking about a practical common sense approach.

“Kiwi ingenuity is clearly a dead beast when you examine this decision.

“New Zealanders with vision and common sense, none of whom are in National, would easily work around the placement of the infrastructure, yet the decision makers cited this as another reason to reject the commuter project.

“The thinking around this rejection has clearly been influenced by National’s belief that only roads matter. It is prepared to spend billions on its Roads of National Significance programme especially in Auckland.

“A quick look overseas will show that many, many countries have opted for rail links. They know that population growth and car ownership growth spells disaster for efficient travel on roads. They know that building bigger roads only leads to more demand and even worse congestion.

“Given that rail links exists from Christchurch to the north, west and south, we should be grabbing the opportunity to transform them into commuter corridor.

“It is truly unbelievable that hundreds of millions are being spent in Christchurch on large-scale ‘image’ projects yet the $10 million cost is used as an excuse to reject what would be a well-used commuter link,” says Mr O’Rourke.


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