A real commitment needed for rail to meet future

Published: Tue 18 May 2010 04:02 PM
A real commitment needed for rail to meet future demands
National’s reluctant commitment to KiwiRail is a sign of a Government that would prefer to see more heavy freight on our roads than on rail, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Darren Hughes said today.
“The Government’s tentative support of KiwiRail is to be applauded but in the wider transport context it shows Transport Minister Steven Joyce remains obsessed with building motorways,” Darren Hughes said.
“The $750 million dollars for KiwiRail looks miserly when you consider Steven Joyce has committed $11 billion to build his ‘Roads of National Significance’.
“The National Freight Demands Study in 2008 predicted a 75 percent growth in total freight movement by 2031. Rail needs to be a major player in meeting the extra demand and volumes.
“The Government needs to take a long term view of how it’s cutting up its Transport spend. With the volume of freight expected to skyrocket over the next twenty years, New Zealand needs a balanced transport system to ensure freight is moved efficiently.
“Labour also urges the Government to think very carefully when considering closing regional lines. Many of those lines are vital in emergencies and are operating effectively.
“Rail must be a vital part of New Zealand’s future freight equation. National’s plan for KiwiRail suggests it won’t,” Darren Hughes said.

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