Waikato MP: Take A Bus


As the CBT announces a series of public meetings at key towns in the Northern Waikato, Te Kauwhata and Huntly, to campaign for the Waikato rail link, more evidence it’s going to be a hard slog to get the service.

MP Tim Macindoe riding a penny farthing at Beehive | timmacindoe.co.nz

National’s MP for Hamilton West, Tim Macindoe, says a Waikato commuter service “can’t happen in the timeframe that CBT and my political opponents are pushing for.”

In an email to a correspondent about the proposal, he says that most of correspondence to him about it has been in favour of Waikato rail and “in principle, so am I when the time is right.”

He says that means when there is “a stronger economy which isn’t so heavily reliant on borrowing - currently $240m per week! - and current transport funding priorities for our region are completed.”

“Although many people signed the petition calling for the service, it’s not clear how many of those live in the affected areas and would actually use it,” says Mr Macindoe.

What he calls “a more scientific assessment” of the proposal is being undertaken by Environment Waikato to get an idea of whether there would be sufficient passengers to make it viable without heavy ratepayer and government subsidies.

He concludes: “InterCity provides a very good and comfortable coach service betwen Auckland and Hamilton for $29 which has spare capacity and doesn’t rely on subsidies.”




  1. rtc says:

    That coach is relying on subsidies through more or less free use of the roading which is having another 1 billion spent on it that we’re all paying for…

    If a better economy is needed before we can afford rail, then why is Joyce spending billions on roads with BCRs of less than 1 i.e. roads that will return less money to the economy than is spent on them….Let’s not forget the recent study that showed investing in rail in NZ would lead to much better returns economically than further motorway expansion.

  2. Geoff says:

    The people who run trains in New Zealand are KiwiRail, and we happen to own them as well. That’s where the lobbying needs to focus. If that fails, then the lobbying needs to switch to making a call for other operators to use the rail network.

    Councils are never going to fund long distance rail, and neither should they.

  3. San Luca says:

    I used to live in Te Kauwhata. The intercity does not go through the town centre. You need a car to get to the bus stop in Rangariri. You also have to prearrange for the service to stop.
    I think it’s entirely possible to have a self-funded, inexpensive service to Tauranga (and maybe Rotorua eventually) via Hamilton, just look at all the buses patronage that goes to both of these places.
    Also, The last time I went on an intercity bus on a Sunday afternoon it took 2 hours to get from Britomart to Te Kauwhata. A Silver Fern could make it to Hamilton in that time.
    Bring this on as soon as possible I say

  4. Jon R says:

    If the Intercity coaches were so good, why aren’t business commuters using them? Simple, rail is the transportation of choice.

    It’s like saying why not fly to Wellington in a turbo prop instead of a Boeing 737. Both are means of transport, though one is faster, quieter and more reliable.

    Points like Steven Joyce’s transport spending on roading projects with rediculously low BCR’s show how out of touch Tim MacIndoe and David Bennett are.

    11,500 people signed the petition. As I colated the petition I know most people lived in the Waikato. It would only take 2% of those people to use the trains and they would all be full.

    I look forward to Tim and David addressing the Hamilton meetings we have planned.

  5. Carl says:

    Intercity? Haha right oh, it doesn’t come to Pukekohe either, you have to drive to Bombay and park at the truck stop, which by the time you do that, you may as well just drive to Auckland.

    the other thing is, its a truck stop that is not watched by anyone so good chance of having your car broken into.

    this is utter BS, this guy has clearly never caught this bus service either, it doesn’t stop anyway near any smaller towns, where the train actually passes through.

    And once again he has failed to see that people in Pukekohe, Taukau, and Mercer will also get on this on this train in either direction, and come rugby season it will also be packed.

    A lot of people living south of Pukekohe and around it attend Waikato Uni, a regular train service to and from Ham’s would be just what the doctor ordered for a lot of these people.

    the drive down there can be a nightmare when the weather is wild.

    people who makes comments like this idiot whom clearly have never used either services, need to STFU! the people have spoken, more than 11,000 of them, and probably even more will use it once it starts!

    also I do hope, after this trail run with the rugby on the weekend, someone uses there brain and schedules a train from Hamilton to Auckland for the NPC, or vice versa, likewise when Counties plays Auckland or Hamilton.

    if it screws up, it screws, up just test the dam thing before the world cup, for timing and driving….

    don’t wait till next year….

  6. Brent C says:

    If CBT waited for the naional leaders to make there move on this issue, it wouldn’t happen. All they are doing is delaying the inevertable

    Good on them for keeping up the fight. The perfect time with local body elections around the corner.

  7. rtc says:

    @Geoff - Central Govt. is being lobbied, these people are National MPs for Hamilton.

  8. joust says:

    @Geoff, good stuff. Mr McIndoe’s got a point about intercity, all the bus companies are competing in the same environment. Thats the fare they charge. A council subsidised train fare will likely be less than that and gobble up their market. I understand the point about road maintenance and building being an indirect subsidy but those funds surely come from petrol tax etc. A council subsidised train will be funded by ratepayers in the king country, coramandel places that won’t have access to any benefits available to a small number of passengers. One of the reason train services are subsidised by the council in Auckland is they have a benefit by taking people off the roads. Its not like the state highways are congested on the journey through the waikato, so taking cars off that journey wouldn’t have any effect on congestion until they reach the Auckland region where Park ‘n’ ride is a possibility anyway on existing services.

    Anyway just to placate the horrible tirade of responses this alternative view is likely to generate if the above comments are anything to go by: Mr McIndoe is IN FAVOUR of the service, another point on which he and I agree!

  9. ingolfson says:

    I agree, such fights need to continue, even (and especially) in the face of huge opposition. Having been in such fights (for cycling in my personal experience), I know that you won’t win all of them (maybe not even most of them), but you keep chipping away. CBT should be getting 10% of the congestion relief calculated from the Onehunga Line, because without them, that wouldn’t have happened. One day they (or some other group) will manage to tip the scales on Hamilton Rail.

  10. ingolfson says:

    Mr McIndoe is IN FAVOUR of the service once “current transport funding priorities for our region are completed.”, which I suspect - without knowing him, I’ll admit - is just a cheap way to get out of saying outright “Not if I have to say anything about it”.

    While I can see some point about the argument that local ratepayers should not be paying subsidies for inter-city transport schemes, they would definitely gain benefits too - they too travel far distances occasionally, at which point they will profit from the fact that there would be X less cars trying to get into Hamilton or Auckland . Car (driver)s that you could not really reach half as easily with a park and ride, I’d say.

  11. Richard says:

    It’s ridiculous you can’t catch a train to Hamilton considering the population and almost direct railway. Everywhere in the world seems to be increasing rail services in this day of environment, emissions and congestion. There should be an hourly service to Hamilton and perhaps two hourly to the Bay of Plenty.

    To compare the train to a coach service is a nonsense. Personally I hate buses and coaches but find train travel relaxing and superior to car travel. Even with our narrow gauge today surely modern trains could travel at 120kph. Perhaps one of the private owners that fleeced the railways could donate some trains?

  12. joust says:

    its nonsense to compare trains to coaches - just because you don’t like them?

  13. jon r says:

    Those who say Coromandel etc would pay to invest in the train are completely incorrect. The plan, as mentioned by Hamilton City Council, is only the communties the rail services serve pay a small rate as a “local share” to get the trains started. This would also cover the cost of a spruce up of their railway platforms (Huntly and Te Kauwhata).

    If Intercity coachlines “are so good” then they will not loose any passengers would they? If however, the travelling public, given a choice jump to rail then the message is loud and clear to Intercity and their arguement falls over.

    I would imagine only commuter tickets would be cheaper than Intercity. Then again it doesn’t have ANY COMMUTERS on it’s buses and it OFFERS NO commuter services.

    Intercity’s use of local roads and bus stops etc ARE NOT funded by petrol tax. Using local roads and facilities IS FUNDED BY RATEPAYERS to a large extent.

  14. joust says:

    Jon R, do the Hamilton transport centre and Sky City coach terminal offer free use of their platforms and ticket offices to long distance coaches? Elsewhere stops seem to consist of barely more than a sign beside the road.

    As a proportion of the journey, travel on local roads by these coaches is a fairly small part I would’ve thought. What would be the likely contribution needed to cover that use? Surely far less than the amounts we’re talking about for a train service.

  15. Jon R says:

    Intercity use the Hamilton Transport Centre free of charge - ratepayers subsidise this through the roading rates ($420 per year). The rate for the train will be around $10 per year after the NZTA contribution and fare revenue. Is that a balanced transport investment, barely! However, it’s better than offering no sustainable transport modes to the region with all the many obvious benefits.

  16. Peter says:

    I travel to Auckland and back on business several times a month and have used the bus on a couple of occasions when the roads are heavy because of the time of year.
    They are functional but not for business travel.
    They are slow - too many stops - and not suitable for me to do work on the way such as using the laptop or reading briefing papers.
    They are more designed for cheap travel and are usually full of young travellers or backpackers.
    I would love to have the choice of a train service so i can quickly do my business on the way to meetings in Auckland.
    Having said that, I come to Auckland which is a car city and my appointments yesterday were in Albany, Browns Bay, Newmarket, St Heliers and Devonport. Without a car, I would not have been able to get around to them. Likewise, i am not based on the heart of Hamlton’s main street either.
    So let’s not fool ourselves that all travellers want to end up in the bottom of Queen St at Britomart and not go any further.
    Using a taxi to get around those places in Auckland would make my business uneconomical.

  17. Jon R says:

    City Hop have cheap cars based around Auckland for non car owners. Far cheaper than taxis and you pay by the hour.

    There will always be some people PT does not suit. However, given that CBD and Newmarket have a lot of major companies, there is naturally a lot of demand for services to the CBD.

    Park and ride at Hamilton Frankton station or the proposed new one at The Base would also serve you possibly?

  18. Matt says:

    “I understand the point about road maintenance and building being an indirect subsidy but those funds surely come from petrol tax etc”

    Actually, joust, more money is spent on roading than comes in from roading-related taxes. So the general tax pool funds Joyce’s hard-on for roads and the things that use them. Talking about the invisible subsidisation of road users and comparing it to the demands that rail pay its own way entirely is perfectly valid.


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