Beehive Bins Waikato Petition
Parliament’s transport and industrial relations select committee has effectively binned the CBT petition signed by 11,5000 people calling for a Waikato-Auckland rail service.
The committee is chaired by National’s Hamilton East MP David Bennett, who has been vocal in his opposition to the train service and pushed the continuing development of the Waikato Expressway.
The committee insisted there was no need to act on the petition because it claimed local authorities in the Waikato had already rejected the idea.
Its decision reads:” The majority of us note that this service has recently been considered by the relevant local authorities and they decided not to establish such a service at this time, and therefore we have no matters to bring to the attention of the House.”
The Labour and Green members on the committee, who are in the minority, disagreed with the committee decision saying: “We are concerned that the view of 11,500 citizens has been dismissed by this committee, without the committee having access to any information with which to make this decision.
“We wanted to hear a submission from the petitioners so that we could consider their proposal. We also wanted to hear a response from the Ministry of Transport, so that the committee could assess the viability of such a service being established.
“We note that in the last term of Parliament, the previous committee heard a similar petition on recomissioning a rail service to Onehunga, which resulted in the Government agreeing to fund that service.”
Labour list MP Sue Moroney, who is on the committee, had presented the petition to parliament.
Hamilton city councillor Dave Macpherson, who supported the rail service, took issue with the statement the local bodies had already said no to the idea.
” Hamilton City Council support the service, it had allocated significant funds as its share towards the establishment costs, and the Regional Council (Environment Waikato) had the service specifically listed in its current Regional Land Transport Strategy. In addition, EW, HCC and the Waikato District Council have all yet to consider a number of submissions received (but not yet heard) in support of the rail service to Auckland.”
Members of the committee are:
Chairman David Bennett (N)
Deputy Jackie Blue (N)
Allan Peachey (N)
Michael Woodhouse (N)
Tau Henare (N)
Gareth Hughes (Greens)
Carol Beaumont (Lab)
Sue Moroney (Lab)
Darien Fenton (Lab)