Greens Greet the Last Northerner
Green Party members and others greeted the arrival of the last Northerner service into Auckland today with flowers and a banner. Green Party Auckland Transport spokesperson Keith Locke and other Greens handed flowers to the driver and staff in recognition of a job well done.
The Northerner is an institution that has existed for many years and it is extremely sad to see it go. Dwindling passenger numbers was the reason given for the axing of the service. This is largely the result of competition from cheap flights. Were air fuel taxed to reflect the enormous environmental damage that flying causes, then of course this wouldn’t be a problem. Rail travel is the most energy efficient means of getting about and to be axing this service in the face of Kyoto commitments and rising fuel prices is extremely short-sighted.
Years of neglect of the track have made rail travel in New Zealand slow and unreliable. Clearly, a sizeable investment in track maintenance and decent rolling stock, including proper sleeper carriages, is what is needed to make the railway once again the ‘backbone of New Zealand.’