Te Huia Train Service: $560 Taxpayer Subsidy For Every Passenger

Published: Tue 6 Apr 2021 12:57 PM
Low interest in the opening run of the Te Huia train service is an omen of a ridiculously large taxpayer subsidy, says the New Zealand
Taxpayers’ Union.
Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “The Waikato Regional Council Chair has said he wants to see 70 percent of seats filled in the first year. The opening run reportedly saw just 80 out of 150 seats filled – 53 percent. That was of course with numerous passengers telling media they were just checking out the train for the novelty value.”
“Even you assume there will only be a modest drop-off in passengers as the novelty value disappears, we’re looking at an enormous taxpayer subsidy. If an average of 70 out of 150 seats are filled on each service for the five year trial period, that’s just 175,000 car trips replaced, for the price of $98 million spent by central and local government. That works out as a taxpayer subsidy of $560 per passenger for a single return trip.”
“The Government could save money and get commuters to Auckland faster by literally just booking them Ubers.”
“This should come as no surprise. How many commuters are seriously going to be keen on a three-and-a-half hour journey to work? You would have to hate yourself to commute on this train.”
Taxpayers' Union
New Zealand's grassroots campaign for lower taxes and less government waste
The New Zealand Taxpayers' Union is an independent activist group, dedicated to being the voice for Kiwi taxpayers in the corridors of power. It's here to fight government waste and make sure New Zealanders get value for money from their tax dollar. New Zealanders are invited to join and donate at
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