Media Release: Friday 24 August
Kiwirail debacle takes centre stage at transport face-off
Labour MP Phil Twyford continued his campaign on the gutting of Kiwirail at a transport forum held by Generation Zero in Wellington last night.
Talking about the so-called “turnaround” planning for Kiwirail, Mr Twyford lambasted the wrong-headed decisions that the statutory corporation is being forced to make off its own terminally damaged balance sheet.
“The el cheapo purchasing decisions they are being forced to make include buying rolling stock that could and should have been manufactured in New Zealand,” said Mr Twyford.
The purpose of the forum was to challenge the quantum and direction of the Government’s multi-billion dollar transport spend, described by Mr Twyford as a “vast Bermuda triangle (where) the normal rules of public sector accountability don’t seem to apply”.
The Roads of National Significance (also known as the wRONgS) were heavily debated and described by Phil Twyford as the “Government’s signature policy”, despite being “hated by provincial New Zealand”.
Perennial Government fall guy Nick Smith defended decisions being made for the next 20 years on expensive car-based forecasts, on the basis that “unpredictable uncertainity” makes it unreasonable to premise any other forecasts.
Greens transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter criticized the Government for “blowing billions on motorways”, including the Waterview project in Auckland, with no likelihood of decreasing congestion.
Despite the bad central transport planning in New Zealand, Genter said there was still hope that the Government could be convinced “not to go down the road we’ve been heading down (so far this century)”.
Further topics included the need for visionary, future-focused planning that can accommodate rapidly changing technologies, such as the innovative homegrown YikeBike.
Phil Twyford praised Generation Zero for introducing “smart, articulate advocacy to the transport debate in such a short time”.