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NZ Rail Party Calls To Reopen Mothballed Branch Lines

Throughout New Zealand, many branch lines which once provided communities with essential rail services have been closed and mothballed. Examples include the Stratford to Okahukura Line, the Wairoa to Gisborne Line, and the Dargaville Branch. Sadly, even with the Governments $1.3 billion rail investment, there are no plans to reopen these lines and utilize this existing infrastructure. The NZ Rail Party believes that reopening these lines should be a priority.

Reopening these lines would bring many advantages. Passenger services along these routes would reduce car journeys, increase tourism and allow elderly to travel independently. KiwiRail’s data shows that freight moved by rail produces one-third the carbon emissions of freight moved by road. Reducing carbon emissions improves air quality which reduces respiratory disease, and provides economic savings through reduced fuel costs. Importantly, the decrease in traffic on our roads would reduce costly roadworks, driver frustration and accidents, thereby saving lives.

It is the policy of the NZ Rail Party to prioritize reopening mothballed branch lines, and oppose the closure of any lines in the future. Rail is a vital infrastructure asset of our nation, and an increase in its usage would bring numerous benefits to New Zealand – in terms of the environment, economy, and also human health.

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