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Don’t blame Govt for lack of action on rail

Letter

You can't blame Jacinda Ardern or Winston Peters when you realise they were being outmanoeuvred by our local leaders who never supported reinstatement of our rail line.

I believe there was no intention of accepting the BERL report and those who have the ear of power are smug in their endeavours to block any attempt to divert profits from the port, even at the expense of roading repairs, carbon pollution and safety for our community.

The 10-year wait for a possible repair is a dream that will be forever put on the backburner. The wish of the community is once again ignored by the few who intend to remain in control of this town and its development.

There are four issues:

1. Trust Tairawhiti supported the “tourism” action only of the BERL report;

2. Eastland Group has made it known that they prefer the development of the port over the re-establishment of the rail;

3. GDC has written to Shane Jones, Winston Peters and Phil Twyford and as yet has not made known the response (some time delay!);

4. It was not widely stated that KiwiRail was the sole arbitrator and that the only way we could reinstate rail was to have it within its 10-year plan.

Based on these premises, and both the 86 percent support for reinstatement in the Herald online survey and the $600,000 cost of the BERL report, I am not sure the groups involved have been fully transparent in their approach to the public.

A more exact report stating who fully supports and who doesn't support the full response laid out in the BERL report would alleviate the concerns that I have mentioned.

W. Brown

  1. Richard says:

    It has been clear for many years that there are those locally who have steadfastly opposed the reinstatement of the rail line and lobbied against in order to misguidedly protect their own self interest positions at the expense of greater social connectivity, environmental gains and improved business logistics.

    The previous mayor flip-flopped on rail to suit the tenor of the times, as did local politicians. Votes to secure their salaried positions. Some businesses have been called-out by the Opinion writer but there are others who seek to use the rail line out of Gisborne for their own none core railway activities. Their campaigning propaganda strewn with claims that their business will enhance the local economy substantially more so than freight or passenger train operations. That’s absolute economic nonsense.

    Rural rail lines are precious commodities crucial not only to the communities they now serve (or served) but quintessentially they are key to the wealth and wellbeing of future generations. Rail lines are fundamental national assets. But the harsh global reality is that once lost, less than 2% are ever put back into railway service. And that must not happen to Gisborne.

    1. Phil Hunt says:

      As I have said before “vested interests” win every time!
      The railway system in this country is a national asset, but has been left to rot in recent years, particularly under National governments.
      It is good to see the present coalition government putting some much needed finance towards bringing the system back to health. Over the next 10 years another (at least) ten billion dollars will be needed to keep the momentum going. In the last 10 years untold billions have been spent on roads and we still have gridlock in many places, so keep doing the same thing time after time is insane. The rail to Gisborne will be vital in the future as conditions change and road transport is shown to be very inefficient.
      Time will tell if I’m right, but I am not alone in seeing the value of the railway.