The government’s recently released draft NZ Rail Plan totally ignores the need for passenger rail in Christchurch.
While the former National government aimed to neuter rail, the new plan recognises the need for investment in rail –
something the rest of the world has been doing for years – but the needs of Canterbury have been ignored.
Just as in Auckland and Wellington, bold actions need to be taken to release Christchurch from its worsening gridlock.
Passenger rail should be an essential part of an integrated transport plan to reduce congestion on Christchurch roads
and the pollution generated from roading networks.
Social Credit proposes a Canterbury Rail Plan which would provide frequent and reliable passenger transport between
Christchurch, Waipara, Springfield, Lyttelton and Ashburton.
Patrons in major population centres would be connected to railway stations with bus services including loop services
around Rolleston, Ashburton, Kaiapoi, and Rangiora, and also park and ride facilities at stations.
This is not merely a transport initiative but will be formative in shaping of the future development of Christchurch
Urgent negotiations with the owners of the former Addington Saleyards site need to be undertaken to establish a
Provincial Rail Centre on Deans Ave as part of the re-development of the site.
The plan proposes to reinstate an expanded a free bus service around the central city which would link to the new rail
centre and the Orbiter service.
Social Credit acknowledges the connection between public housing and transport, and would encourage the building of mid
to high density housing along the pubic rail routes to reduce urban sprawl.
The Canterbury Rail Plan is estimated to initially cost around $500 million, with operational costs additional.
The post depression Labour Government built its iconic state houses by using funds from the Reserve Bank at no cost to
taxpayers and without the need for borrowing, and that same method could be used to fund the Canterbury Rail Plan as
well as the wider improvements in the nationwide rail network proposed in the Government’s draft NZ Rail Plan.
After all, the European Central Bank creates 35 billion Euros every month to support the economy in Europe, and New
Zealand’s commercial banks created $32 billion in new money in the last 12 months, so the funding needed from NZ’s
central bank for rail is miniscule by comparison.
Should Social Credit get sufficient MPs in parliament in 2020, there is nothing stopping the plan getting underway
within weeks of the election.