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If Gisborne is losing rail then we need better roads

5 September 2012

If Gisborne is losing rail then we need better roads

Federated Farmers Gisborne is disappointed the Wairoa to Gisborne rail line is to be mothballed under KiwiRail’s Infrastructure and Engineering Business Plan. The Federation now challenges the Government to increase road funding to support the region’s exporters.

"When KiwiRail says they are going to mothball the track beyond Wairoa to Gisborne, it is a euphemism for closure," says Hamish Cave, Federated Farmers Gisborne-Wairoa provincial president.

“The moment maintenance ceases, the track beds, bridges and viaducts will deteriorate. Instead of a $4 million repair bill now, it would mean rebuilding the railway later. I cannot even begin to guess at how much that would cost.

“Sadly, I cannot see commercial rail services to and from Gisborne resuming in my lifetime. While some may seek to challenge KiwiRail, each passing day means the repair bill escalates from the doable to the unaffordable.

“Instead of fighting battles we cannot win, Federated Farmers wants the region’s energies turned to securing much better road access.

“I would like the decision makers to drive with me from Napier to Gisborne to see the roads for themselves and the problems our region has in getting exports out

“Instead of political point scoring, this needs all of our community groups, business organisations and elected representatives singing from the same hymn sheet.

"Provincial New Zealand has had a gutful of Roads of National Significance being about reducing city congestion. The feeling here is that we generate the big bucks being spent in the cities to keep urban voters happy

“Road funding priorities ought to follow the export dollar and Gisborne needs decent road and port access. This lack of quality access is holding back jobs and economic development.

“One way to turn things around, given the KiwiRail decision, is to invest in our roads; our sole remaining land based means of getting goods into and out of the region.

“Gisborne and Wairoa’s roads are nationally significant to us and to the rest of New Zealand as well," Mr Cave concluded.

© Scoop Media

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