Government Needs To Reprioritise Transport Plans For The Hawkes Bay
The government has made the rebuilding of the railway through to Wairoa and to Gisborne a “low priority”, indicating that the government has little idea about the needs of rail customers, regional development and how to fight climate change.
The government have told these communities that rail is too expensive and that the money needs to go to making SH2 more resilient. TRAC national coordinator Niall Robertson says that this is no more than is expected from a National government who have a history of prioritising road transport over rail. TRAC has no problem with making SH2 resilient, but this should not be at the expense of rail. Robertson adds, “Although the damage in the Esk Valley looks disastrous and spectacular, the actual cost to rebuild that line will be relatively cheap. Even the line all the way to Gisborne would be relatively cheap when all of the social, health and transport advantages are factored into the rebuild”. Robertson adds, “... NZTA would be saving millions each year on road maintenance costs too”
A lot of work north of the Esk Valley has already been completed by KiwiRail and beyond the Esk Valley, there is very little damage to the track now.
TRAC believes that government needs to get behind real transport solutions for the regions and to get behind transport climate initiatives. Robertson says, “So far this new government seems to have no concept of either”.