No Bennett-fit For Having Waikato Rail


silverThe Waikato rail proposal is continuing to run into fierce opposition from a regional National MP who is arguing the road versus rail debate.

As we know, CBT has been running a very active campaign to get a decision on a daily commuter rail service between Hamilton and Auckland using the refurbished Silver Fern railcars.

But National MP David Bennett has made it clear that he is hugely in favour of the Waikato Expressway motorway and can’t see merit in a rail service.

Now he is replying to those who have written urging a commuter rail service by telling them  that any potential rail service would have “problems.”

According to a letter sighted, the MP for Hamilton East says these problems are:

  • The main trunk line is not electrified. A diesel train would not have environmental benefits. Over time this link would have environmentally negative consequences to the road option where more efficient and cleaner vehicles would be used.
  • The Waikato region has received one of the biggest roading packages in the country with the Waikato Expressway.This is a huge project and it simply wouldn’t be in Waikato’s interest to advocate for a competing use of funds and jeopardise the biggest project central government can do for the region.
  • The nature of use of the Auckland rail network means the train can not use the Britomart terminal. That terminal is basically at capacity at peak times so in effect the train can’t reach its final destination.
  • The best approach for a multi-model solution is driving to the outskirts of Auckland on the expressway and from there use Park and Ride alternatives to get into the city. This would be cheaper than travel from Hamilton by train. It would give commuters choice on travel times as the Auckland trains run more regularly and would accommodate commuters’ travel times. Also it would mean avoiding congestion on the Auckland southern motorway.

To which the CBT reply:

  • 96 people on one railcar is far more fuel efficient then 96 independent vehicles travelling over the same distance. Scientific studies show rail is 4 to 5.5 times more fuel efficient when compared to vehicles.
  • Just because a region has some roading money for a project with no cost benefit ratio (Waikato expressway) does that mean you can’t have an alternative option i.e. rail service with a good cost benefit ratio?
  • The Business Study mentions that KiwiRail believe the additional rail services can be accommodated in Britomart.
  • How would it be the “best approach”? Still there is productivity loss through daily commuters having to drive for 1 hour to Pukekohe. How would it be cheaper once you take the cost of fuel, WOF, insurance and depreciation on your vehicle into account?  There are no park and ride facilities at Pukekohe Station.
  • Is he asking the Auckland region to fund Waikato car drivers? Additionally, peak trains from Pukekohe are full already, so it would be better for Waikato residents to be a board a railcar before it arrives in the Auckland catchment area.

Despite the CBT’s best flawless efforts, there doesn’t seem any sign of the Silver Ferns arriving at Te Rapa to whisk people to Auckland anytime soon. Sigh.




  1. Jeremy Harris says:

    Love the title, classic… Boy hope the public starts to realise we are one of the few countries left trying to motorway our way ito bliss…

  2. Cambennett says:

    What is with this guy? Stephen Joyce is smart enough to at least pay lip service to rail. I actually think David Bennett is a liability to the road lobby, he just appears ill informed and his statements lack logic. Frankly he comes across sounding a bit thick.

  3. Jeremy Harris says:

    Electric cars will save us all, not only will they magically solve climate change but car congestion too..!

  4. Richard says:

    Why do those in authority in NZ, with a few exceptions of course, try to take us in the opposite direction to the rest of the world. Excluding perhaps India and China who are still catching up from the 1940′s the two modes of transport with skyrocketing numbers are railways (including light rail) and cycling, both positive for the environment.

    The Waikato Expressway has nothing to do with the railway all it will do is allow drivers to get to the tail of the Auckland congestion quicker. Can these dumbos not see this. Yes the Silver Ferns pollute more than modern traction, they are old, but 90 odd cars pollute numerous times more.

    The answer would be to give it a try, be positive. I’m sure it would be more successful than the 90′s going centre to centre…and of course we have now more congestion.

    I suggest the anti’s would be scared to trial it because they know it would succeed.

  5. Richard says:

    A correction to my post.
    Sorry China, I have read thousands of kms. of new railway are being planned/built there too

  6. Carl says:

    nz is living in 1800. there should be high speed rail between hams and auckland, stoping at New market, Papakura, Pukekohe and 3 stops before hamitron…

    the so called city of the future needs to have rail links, its not all about going to auckland, what about people who may go the other way…..

    this is a such a stupid argument, it should just be built!


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>