Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kiwi Rail--- it must stay alive and well

Here we go again, there is a strong possibility that yet another section of our rail system will be closed and we all know that it is very rare for such actions to be reversed; the Onehunga connection being a happy exception.
Now that the Government and Kiwi Rail are considering closing the very important link between the Hawkes Bay and Gisborne is crazy and incredibly short-sighted. Haven’t the events of the last few weeks, where Gisborne was virtually cut off by road, made it abundantly clear that we must keep this vital link.
Think of all of the traffic that will travel on the roads, increasing the danger to motorists and the environment. The people of Poverty Bay and the East Coast have made their feelings clear--- keep the rail. It is an investment in their province and the future.
We have seen many other links cut; the link between Taumaranui and Stratford being an example. I know it would cost a huge amount to fix the dilapidated line, but given the rising costs of fossil fuels, both in monetary and environmental terms, should we not take a stand for the future? Saving money now, often equates to spending far more in the future.
The argument that Rail must make a profit is a spurious one.  We know that to make a profit from any form of transport in NZ is always going to be a stretch at best. We must pay the social cost if necessary----a form of a social subsidy. Why build more roads and burn more fuel when we can continue to electrify what out early hard-working settlers entrusted to us---- not to sell or close, but to keep for the benefit of all.  The money spent is not lost if measured in that wider sense.