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Minister: No Nationwide Passenger Rail In The Near Future. Transport Minister "Constrained By Funding"

Yesterday, Restore Passenger Rail supporters met with Transport Minister, Michael Wood, to discuss the climate emergency and the restoration of an affordable nationwide passenger rail service to year 2000 levels.

“Minister Wood admitted that he wants to restore passenger rail but is constrained by funding” said spokesperson Rosemary Penwarden. "Instead the government is prioritising decarbonising transport in our biggest cities.

"That’s all very well, but reasonable freedom of movement is a human right. What about New Zealanders who don’t own a car or don’t live in our biggest cities? We can’t ignore the enormous social gain that comes with the environmental gain of restoring passenger rail. We are in a cost of living crisis as well as a climate crisis. Restoring passenger rail tackles both of these issues head-on and should be a priority.

"Minister Wood was dismissive of the emissions of domestic flights, interregional car travel and road freight. He tried to give us a choice: does he decarbonise transport in our largest cities or restore nationwide passenger rail? That’s nuts. We need both.

Yesterday’s meeting with Minister Wood followed a campaign by Restore Passenger Rail launched on 27 September when campaigners delivered an ultimatum to a number of MP’s. After no response from the government, they began disrupting business as usual in Wellington from October 10 - 27, until an email was received from Minister Wood.

“Our actions in October caused disruption because we are serious about preserving a future for our kids. We stuck to our word and ceased disruption when we had contact from Minister Wood. Now, despite Minister Wood’s insistence that he is in favour of restoring passenger rail, the government is listening to the bean counters instead of the climate scientists.”

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