The Next Transport Minister?
Steven Joyce’s well justified reward for creating yet another stunning victory for National will be a new Cabinet post – and he wants something to do with finance.
Bill English is not budging - but economic development is available. Gerry Brownlee had it until he became occuppied with Christchurch earthquake recovery.
There is no doubt Steven loves his motorways but now that he feels the Government has a mandate to build Puhoi and ignore the CBD Link, he can safely leave it if he wants to.
So who gets it?
Hekia Parata and Whips Chris Tremain and Jo Goodhew are among names mentioned as being high on the list for being in Cabinet in the first time. Joyce himself got a promotion first time around at the start of last term.
I hope it’s Chris Tremain, MP for his hometown of Napier, and a background of business that includes a successful real estate firm.
Chris won the Napier Electorate in 2005, the first National Party candidate to do so since 1951, and secured Napier with an increased majority of 9018 in 2008. His majority was 3383.
On his site he talks about a meeting he had with KiwiRail exploring how to keep the Gisborne to Napier line open and make it profitable.
“I raised the question of an additional hub in or close to Wairoa. This may be one way of helping to ensure the economic success of the Gisborne to Napier line.
I was told by Iain Hill, General Manager of Freight, that Kiwi Rail are in discussions to consider this very option with the matter being on the agenda at a HBRC meeting in Napier on the 23rd of August. Well done to those involved.
The majority of logs around Gisborne and from up the East Coast already go through the Port of Gisborne by truck. Iain Hill conveyed that the issue with hauling logs on rail from and around Wairoa is one of short haul distance. Iain said that it’s too expensive to put rail heads up into forest skid-sites so the best option was a collection point or hub, which still requires truck transport, therefore double handling and cost. He told me that once the logs are on a truck it’s a relatively short haul to either Panpac or either of the Ports so for a truck/rail option to be competitive it needs to be high volume high efficiency.
Despite these concerns this is a potential solution which may ensure that using rail is a real alternative to trucks. At the end of the day, however, the economics must stack up as forest owners will chose the transport option which gets their product to market at lowest cost.
This aside, it’s great to see Kiwi Rail taking positive steps to consider all the options.”
So here is a Nat saying, and I repeat: “This is a potential solution which may ensure that using rail is a real alternative to trucks. ”
Let’s make him Minister of Trucks & Rail!