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National shows hypocritical Christmas Grinch approach

National Party shows hypocritical Christmas Grinch approach to Waikato's transport needs

The Chair of Hamilton City Council’s Growth & Infrastructure Committee, Dave Macpherson has responded strongly to an attack on the Hamilton to Auckland passenger rail service, approved by the Government’s NZTA agency in the last few days.

The attack came from the National Opposition’s Transport spokesperson Paul Goldsmith.

Councillor Macpherson pointed out that National’s current leader, Simon Bridges, on a visit to the Hamilton City Council in 2016 while Minister of Transport had himself supported in principle the proposed rail service.

“I was present in the meeting with Minister Bridges and heard him make positive comments about a potential rail service“, said Cr Macpherson.

“So to hear the Party’s current Transport spokesperson turn around and oppose the rail service, shows he is either out of tune, or alternatively, out of communication with his own leader.”

Cr Macpherson added “Either way, Mr Goldsmith is definitely out of tune with the people of the Waikato, who have been increasingly facing gridlock on the Southern Motorway parking lot for the last ten years.”

“A recent Regional Council study has shown that this Motorway gridlock has moved southwards by 11 kilometres in the 10 years to 2017. And the authorities’ response had previously been to widen short stretches of the Motorway which would simply create more carparking spaces!”

“It now takes an average of two hours and 40 minutes to drive to Auckland CBD at peak travel times, an unproductive trip that is lengthening by the month. Even with the slower conditions of the start-up rail service, that time is being beaten by the train journey!”

“Our Council, the Waikato Regional Council and the Waikato District Council have all voted overwhelmingly to support the rail service business case in the last month”, Cr Macpherson said.

“Mr Goldsmith is completely out of tune with the Councils responsible for transport in the area, as he is with the 70% of Hamiltonians who approved of the service in a survey run by the Hamilton City Council.”

Cr Macpherson also described Mr Goldsmith’s suggestion that, instead of starting up the Hamilton-Auckland rail service, Waikato residents drive to Tuakau to catch electric units into Auckland as “proving he is also geographically challenged.”

“I know he comes from Epsom, the wealthiest electorate in the country, and probably doesn’t get out of the city much, but he is dreaming if he thinks Waikato commuters would travel 20kms out of their way, on a poor-quality road, to catch a train that is not on the plans, and couldn’t possibly be running for the next three years.”

Councillor Dave Macpherson

Chair, Growth & Infrastructure Committee

Hamilton City Council

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