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Community Stepping Up To Protect Te Huia Train

PTUA-CBT-The Future is Rail Joint Media Release

Public transport and rail advocacy groups are concerned that the government has not yet provided funding for the Auckland/Waikato Te Huia train service to continue beyond June 30th, 2024.

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA), the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT), and The Future is Rail groups have come together to coordinate a Public Meeting in Hamilton on Saturday 4 May.

Their collective message to the government is unequivocal: the Te Huia train must remain operational and be funded to complete its full 5-year trial period at a bare minimum.

Chair of the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA), Niall Robertson, says the current government does not seem to understand the true value of rail and public transport.

He says, “30% of the population rely on public transport for mobility and social connectivity. This investment is not questioned in most countries.”

Robertson says that Prime Minister, Christopher Luxon, has called Te Huia a ‘white elephant’ and said that he ‘doesn’t get it.’

“I encourage Luxon or some of his Ministers to come to the meeting and we will explain the definite benefits to them,” Robertson adds.

Jodi Johnston of the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) adds, “Rail reduces congestion, emissions and pollution and makes travelling safer, both for motorists and those on the train.”

“Hamilton is New Zealand's fastest growing city and being connected to Auckland is a must for the future,” Hamilton Local Coordinator Georgie Dansey of The Future Is Rail (formerly Save Our Trains) says.

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“Te Huia and the increase of good public transport options supports the move to a low emissions economy and contributes to New Zealand reaching our climate goals. Our Waikato communities need an affordable, low-carbon option to get to work and school and Te Huia provides that.”

“Patronage of Te Huia is steadily growing, with more trips being added to support growing usage. Shortening the agreed to 5 year trial period does not give our commuter train a fair go, and if stopped, will instead put more cars on the road, reducing accessibility, increasing congestion and contributing to road pollution,” says Dansey.

Robertson adds, “Te Huia is developing well. We want it to go forward and prosper further with upgraded trains and new stops like Pookeno. Not extending funding will be a significant backward move for people, the economy, and the environment.”

If people want to learn more and give the government a clear message, then we encourage them to come to our public meetings, says Robertson.

Hamilton: The Ramada By Wyndham, 287 Victoria St Hamilton Central on 4th May 2024 at 2.30pm

Pookeno: Pokeno Hall, 69 Great South Rd., Pookeno 12th May 2024 at 2.30pm

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