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Rail shouldn't be the last option

Rail shouldn't be the last option

'Our region needs public transport and a government that will support common sense options', says Labour candidate Rob McCann.

'Labour is strongly committed to retaining and improving public transport in the region. We believe in good public services, such as health, education and transport, and will fight to retain them for the benefit of everyone and to achieve social and environmental goals. For example:

'Labour has campaigned strongly to retain the Capital Connection train service, which is now threatened because the current government will not come up with a small annual subsidy.

'Some governments stick their heads in the sand and hope the issue will go away.

'If our electorate MP and some of his fellow ministers were visiting the region and their chauffeured car broke down, they'd sooner walk back to Wellington than take the train!

'Such is the dislike of public transport by this government, that even the Regional Council is too scared to speak up. First we hear it's too expensive, with costs cited at between $115 and $135 million, including for new trains. Yet three short years ago the cost of electrification was $30 million. (Letter to Jenny Rowan by Fran Wilde, 2011). Now we are told that more trains “would probably be another nail in the coffin” of the Capital Connection.

'It seems that Greater Wellington Regional Operations Manager, Angus Gabara, clearly knows that the decision on the future of the Capital Connection was delayed by Nathan Guy and this government till after the election, so that the bad news won't affect the result in this marginal electorate.

'This is not acceptable. Labour will continue to look at electrification, diesel options and double tracking. We will make an informed decision, not one prejudiced by a dislike of public transport or trains. Funds for such a project should come from central government and I will advocate for this spending.

'I will continue to defend the services we do have. The fact that the Minister of Transport has the option of occasionally visiting this region in a BMW is no reason to force the rest of us onto the road’.


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