Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Gisborne Train Link Not Justified: KiwiRail

The figures don’t stack up for reinstating the train line between Gisborne and Wairoa, KiwiRail boss Greg Miller says.

Gisborne District Council has identified the line’s refurbishment as a shovel-ready project that, with Crown funding, could bolster the economy in the wake of Covid-19.

The council’s application to the Government’s Infrastructure Industry Reference Group says up to $23.3 million is needed for the project.

But KiwiRail, which would be responsible for the work, believes it could cost up to five times as much as that to reinstate the mothballed track.

It also says there is no guarantee of sufficient southbound freight to justify the proposed multimillion-dollar investment.

“Our view is it’s actually quite high risk to put this capital in there when there’s no certainty on revenue,” Mr Miller said.

He had provided that appraisal to the Government, which he said had been “proactively” seeking feedback from stakeholders in the line’s restoration.

Mr Miller said KiwiRail was feeling the pinch of reduced train services due to Covid-19 and would be focused on building freight volumes on existing lines.

“As a state-owned enterprise, we’ve got to run a commercial business, and there are no subsidies for the freight network.”

A feasibility study, led by Berl economists and released late last year, found there was enough freight out of Gisborne to justify running a 24-wagon train on the line to Napier each weekday, as well as a daily 24-wagon log service, with each wagon carrying the load of one truck.

Mr Miller said KiwiRail had done its own research into potential freight volumes for the line.

He was yet to be convinced there was enough freight to justify the cost of restoring the line “at this point”.

KiwiRail’s research would not be published because there was a great deal of variability in freight volumes from day to day, Mr Miller said.

Storm damage led to the closure of the railway between Gisborne and Napier in 2012, but the Wairoa-Napier section of the track reopened last June, thanks to $6.2m from the Provincial Growth Fund.

Mr Miller said the coastal train line between Gisborne and Wairoa presented more maintenance challenges than the track between Wairoa and Napier, and climate change was likely to exacerbate those issues.


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Binoy Kampmark: Budget Cockups In The Time Of Coronavirus: Reporting Errors And Australia’s JobKeeper Scheme

Hell has, in its raging fires, ringside seats for those who like their spreadsheets. The seating, already peopled by those from human resources, white collar criminals and accountants, becomes toastier for those who make errors with those spreadsheets. ... More>>

The Dig - COVID-19: Just Recovery

The COVID-19 crisis is compelling us to kick-start investment in a regenerative and zero-carbon future. We were bold enough to act quickly to stop the virus - can we now chart a course for a just recovery? More>>

The Conversation: Are New Zealand's New COVID-19 Laws And Powers Really A Step Towards A Police State?

Reaction to the New Zealand government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant lockdown has ranged from high praise to criticism that its actions were illegal and its management chaotic. More>>

Keith Rankin: Universal Versus Targeted Assistance, A Muddled Dichotomy

The Commentariat There is a regular commentariat who appear on places such as 'The Panel' on Radio New Zealand (4pm on weekdays), and on panels on television shows such as Newshub Nation (TV3, weekends) and Q+A (TV1, Mondays). Generally, these panellists ... More>>

Jelena Gligorijevic: (Un)lawful Lockdown And Government Accountability

As the Government begins to ease the lockdown, serious questions remain about the lawfulness of these extraordinary measures. Parliament’s Epidemic Response Committee has indicated it will issue summonses for the production of legal advice about the ... More>>

Caitlin Johnstone: Do You Consent To The New Cold War?

The world's worst Putin puppet is escalating tensions with Russia even further, with the Trump administration looking at withdrawal from more nuclear treaties in the near future. In addition to planning on withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Why Thinking Makes It So: Donald Trump’s Obamagate Fixation

The “gate” suffix has been wearing thin since the break-in scandal that gave it its birth. Since Watergate, virtually anything dubious and suggestive, and much more besides, is suffixed. Which brings us to the issue of President Donald Trump’s ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Ethics (and Some Of The Economics) Of Lifting The Lockdown

As New Zealand passes the half-way mark towards moving out of Level Four lockdown, the trade-offs involved in life-after-lockdown are starting to come into view. All very well for National’s finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith to claim that “The number one priority we have is to get out of the lockdown as soon as we can”…Yet as PM Jacinda Ardern pointed out a few days ago, any crude trade-off between public health and economic well-being would be a false choice... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Brutal Choices: Anders Tegnell And Sweden’s Herd Immunity Goal

If the title of epidemiological czar were to be created, its first occupant would have to be Sweden’s Anders Tegnell. He has held sway in the face of sceptics and concern that his “herd immunity” approach to COVID-19 is a dangerous, and breathtakingly ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Trans-Tasman Bubble, And The Future Of Airlines

As the epidemiologists keep on saying, a trans-Tasman bubble will require having in place beforehand a robust form of contact tracing, of tourists and locals alike - aided by some kind of phone app along the lines of Singapore’s TraceTogether ... More>>


  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog