Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Time To Recognise Rail’s Strategic Value


18th August, 2006

Time To Recognise Rail’s Strategic Value

Auckland lobby group The Campaign for Better Transport is backing the Ruapehu District Council’s bid to keep the Overlander Auckland-Wellington rail service alive.

"Dunedin City Council’s involvement with the Taieri Gorge Railway sets a successful example of what can be achieved. ", says Cameron Pitches, Convenor of the Campaign for Better Transport.

Mr Pitches is also hopeful that the Government will see the strategic value of maintaining a passenger rail network in the North Island, especially given escalating fuel prices and the demise of regional airline Origin Pacific.

"The main trunk railway line is already electrified between Hamilton and Palmerston North, reducing our dependency on the ever increasing price of imported fossil fuels" says Mr Pitches.

"In the same way that the Government saw the need to invest in Air New Zealand for strategic reasons, let’s hope that similar reasoning prevails here."

Mr Pitches also believes a different operator stepping in for regional passenger rail services will realise the potential of rail to the regions. "Judging by the near total lack of marketing and poor investment record in rolling stock, it is clear that Toll want to stick to their core business of freight. But I think the potential for passenger rail services to Rotorua, Waitomo and all points down to Wellington is huge."

According to the Ports of Auckland, Auckland can expect over 100,000 people arriving in the next year on cruise ships alone.

"In February 2007 the largest ocean liner in the world, the Queen Mary 2, will arrive with 2,800 passengers. I imagine a large number of these passengers would jump at the chance to catch a train for a scenic day trip to Rotorua or the Waitomo Caves, directly from Britomart.", says Mr Pitches.

Ticketing could also be greatly improved. Developing multi-stop tickets would allow passengers flexibility in travel arrangements, claimed Mr Pitches. That way people can stop at towns, then resume journeys the next day.

"Councils need to lobby for better types of tickets that let people stop in their towns and continue travel without penalty," emphasized Mr Pitches.

"Low cost measures like this, and improved food and service, can be the basis for a sustainable rail service in the future to our regions."


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Zimbabwe: New Democracy, Or A False Dawn?

Gordon Campbell: Robert Mugabe = Hosni Mubarak. The current jubilation on the streets of Harare at the fall of Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe is genuine, and one hates to be negative about the country’s future. Yet the situation is eerily similar to the scenes in Cairo in early 2011, when a popular uprising swept Hosni Mubarak from power in Egypt. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them. More>>


Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>


Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>


Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election