Michael Wood A ‘Wanted Man’ In The Wild West
Minister of Transport Michael Wood is a ‘wanted man’ in the wilds of far-west Auckland. He’s wanted by the Kumeu community for ‘robbery’ – train robbery – as locals feel robbed of decent public rail transport. The railway line that runs through Kumeu is better than ever, with a recent multimillion dollar upgrade to the North Auckland Line. But the high-growth community is ‘wild’ at the Labour Government’s failure to plan for and provide passenger train services, an obvious solution to the area’s gridlock.
The Trains to Huapai campaign and the Public Transport Users Association are channelling locals’ frustration with a good-natured ‘Wanted’ campaign aimed at Michael Wood ‘and the Labour gang’, for train robbery.
Trains to Huapai campaign leader Christine Rose says locals feel they are victims of political neglect “we’ve been robbed!” “People feel we’ve been robbed of ease of travel via a proven mode - rail. We are robbed of quality of life, productive potential, time, fuel and money, as we sit stuck in traffic with the one realistic alternative – train travel, ignored by officials. We’ve also been robbed of years of potential progress as the delays and time for construction of light rail show that any service to Kumeu is light years away”.
Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) Chair Niall Robertson says, “Politicians dither while the West loses. This is their chance to see how the West can be won! The request is modest and the Government has choices. They can electrify and save the most emissions. They could buy electro-diesels to serve extended parts of the rail system not electrified or they could simply use the existing DMU units as a shuttle from Huapai to Swanson every hour from 6am to 8pm. This is not a biggie! So it is a massive insult to the locals to deny it!”
PTUA Co-ordinator Jon Reeves says the Government’s declaration of a climate emergency is also a farce if they refuse to pick the low-hanging fruit – using existing – and recently upgraded rail lines, train stations and consumer demand to address congestion and carbon emissions from residents facing long journeys and queues stuck in traffic.
Trains to Huapai has launched a postcard campaign to channel some of the community frustration and direct it in a humourous way to the Minister of Transport, Michael Wood (attached below). “People are frustrated and wild in the west” says Mrs Rose. “Michael Wood is a wanted man, as are the rest of ‘the Labour Gang’, for the great train robbery that occurs while we wait for our turn to access regional rail”.