Horses and carts good in their day
One cannot help but wonder where some of the opinions on this page actually come from. We have the only almost all-weather port between Tauranga and Napier. Almost all-weather applies to most ports in the world to some degree, as the demise of the Wahine will testify.
This port was created from an almost non-existent river bar crossing to an almost all-weather port, although the original idea was to ship local produce around the coast to the rest of New Zealand; this was doomed to failure as most of the local ports in the country are only accessible over treacherous river bars.
However, it certainly justified its existence, as many a fisherman who worked from Gisborne will testify.
Not so long ago Gisborne had the second highest landings of fish in the country. The scows have disappeared, replaced by a very inefficient railway operating on tracks hung off the side of very slippery slopes.
Face it, the geology of the East Coast is not conducive to this type of transport.
The railway has in turn been replaced by a very modern, efficient fleet of trucks. There is good coverage of this at Truck Files — A New Zealand Story, Prime (primetv.co.nz).
However, the Gisborne port is still in service because there are goods we produce, people internationally who wish to buy those goods, and ships that will come here to carry the freight to destinations where the ships can unload the said freight.
To upgrade our old, successful port seems to make good sense. It has already proved its worth.
To use money that could update the port, trying to prove that rail is viable — steel wheels, on steel tracks, on soft ground and likely to slide down the hills — is certainly not how I would like to see my hard-earned taxes spent.
We have a Government that has justified hanging $43.6 billion extra debt around our necks, by informing us that it could have been $48bn! Meaning $43.6bn is not a lot but $4.4bn is really significant!!
Certainly the benefit the community will get from some of this spend-up is very questionable, but adding to it will not make the repayment of the debts, we — yes, we and the future citizens of our fair country — have to repay any easier.
My suggestion is that if you really want to play trains buy a Hornby or similar and play with it to your heart’s content.
As I watch the trucks and logs passing my door, I actually have some hope the jobs and revenue that our forests are creating will go some way to help repaying the debt our wellbeing society is creating. How efficiently we can transport this freight to its end user will surely influence the benefits our community and the people of New Zealand will receive.