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What is happening with our rail line?

List MP based in Gisborne
Transport Spokesperson
2 September 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
What is happening with our rail line?

Confusion reigns over the future of the Gisborne to Napier rail line, with a statement on KiwiRail's website seeming to indicate that the decision to close the line has already been made says Gisborne based Labour MP Moana Mackey.

"A document leaked to Labour a few weeks ago showed that KiwiRail were planning to close the line between Gisborne and Wairoa. At that time we were told that no final decision had been made. But suddenly a statement has appeared on KiwiRail's website at 7pm on Friday night seemingly announcing the closure of the line. Even more worryingly the statement casts uncertainty of the future of the Wairoa to Napier section of the line as well stating that "The line is not commercially viable to operate today or in the foreseeable future and this is true for both the full line and the section from Napier to Wairoa."

"The statement goes on to say that the $4 million cost to fix the washouts, and the on-going $3 million per annum running costs make the line economically unviable. And it states that "Even if demand for freight services was to be generated locally, our estimate of the infrastructure costs to maintain this level of service would far exceed the potential revenue gained". This does not stack up with what local businesses are saying about the economic potential of the line.

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"The Government must release the business case to the Gisborne and Hawkes Bay councils so that they can analyse the figures and have them independently reviewed before any final decision is made. I simply do not believe KiwiRail's assertion that the line is not viable,” says Moana Mackey.

Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says the National Government should stop hiding behind KiwiRail and front up to the Gisborne community.

"Ultimately it's the Government's call. It's their obsession with gold plated uneconomic Roads of National Significance that has sucked money out of provincial New Zealand including for rail. As an isolated exporting district Gisborne needs a mix of transport options and that must include rail along with roads and coastal shipping.

"National blocked Mayor Meng Foon's petition, signed by more than 10,000 people, from proceeding at select committee. Was this because they knew that more careful analysis of the figures would show that they don't stack up?

"Release the report to the councils and let them examine the business case. The only reason the Government wouldn't do this is if they know the figures wont stand up to independent scrutiny.

To view the KiwiRail statement go to http://www.kiwirail.co.nz/about-us/kiwirail-the-facts/improving-the-network/napier-gisborne-line.html


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