Battle To Save Rail Lines Steps Up


Of course it’s not on the scale of Egypt’s citizen uprising, but saving provincial rail lines is seeing our own citizens getting into protest mode.

Next weekend, Steam Incorporated will be running an excursion on the threatened Napier-Gisborne line. Local campaigners are organising a mass rally at Gisborne when the train arrives from Napier and is inviting local MPs to also be there. They are also collecting signatures on a petition.

The train trip, costing $129 return for adults from Napier to Gisborne is already sold out meaning a packed 400 or so will be on board.

After Hikurangi Forest Farms announced the establishment of a new mill will be further delayed and so freight would not be using the line, KiwiRail indicated the line would be mothballed by 2012 if new business did not arrive.

Businesses, community groups and individuals have formed a Rail Action Group. They estimate that if the mothballing happens, it would cost in the vicinity of $100m to re-open the line in 10 years if that was ever decided. But of course they don’t want it closed.

Photo Jim Curtis

A public meeting in Mangawhai recently about  the effect closing the railway would have on Northland resolved to:

  • bring together groups with an interest in keeping the line
  • formulate strong questions regarding the Government’s commitment to keeping the North Auckland line
  • circulate a petition demanding the line be kept open.

Labour’s Trevor Mallard is one MP who publicly supports Northland rail continuing while revealing some Labour MPs are happy with it being closed.. He wrote on his blog:

“I’ve got an opinion on this question which is not that popular with friends on both the right and left.I think the rail link to Marsden Point should be completed. It is probably the key to a decent integrated transport system for New Zealand.

Marsden Point is the best port in the country. Deep water, natural and because it is so far north it saves sailing time for the massive ships that will be servicing NZ in the future.

The road industry hate the idea. Port of Auckland’s owner not impressed. Auckland colleagues don’t agree.”

Quite frankly, it’s shocking that Labour MPs would support the closure of the line. You have to wonder about why that party has got so out of touch.




  1. Luke says:

    I think you’ve misinterpreted Trevor’s comments there.
    I’m pretty sure he’s saying that Auckland colleagues dont agree with Marsden Point taking over from Auckland as the major port in NZ.
    That makes much more sense, I’m pretty sure other labour mp’s have attacked the planned closure when talking about the holiday highway.

    Also I’m quite sure the nats would like to see it closed so they are out of touch too.

  2. Jim C says:

    Its good you’ve shown the website. I really do hope that the Gisborne line stays open. This will be the 4th time Steam Incorporate has run a train up to Gisborne. I believe also the Silver Fern did a trip up there one weekend as well. All running from Napier. The picture of the train in this article is also on the Palmerston North to Gisborne line.

  3. Vote National Kill Rail says:

    Thanks AKT for this information. Steven Joyce may have opened up a can of worms he doesn’t need with his forced closure of KiwiRail lines.

    There’s no doubt about it the trucking lobby has pushed Joyce to put this pressure on KiwiRail.

    Let’s hope the Nats don’t win this year!

  4. Matt L says:

    I think there would definitely be some Labour MP’s don’t care about rail so wouldn’t care if it was closed and probably some who think it is outdated and would support closure.

    Part of the problem with this is Kiwirail are looking at this as a way of getting other people to do their work for them. From what I have heard they haven’t actually done much in the way of trying to advertise their services and get sales so they are instead relying on the local communities to do the work for them which is just lazy. If they can’t run services they should give up the lines and allow other businesses to use them, just because their business model doesn’t work, doesn’t meant another one wont but if they maintain a stranglehold on the system we will never know if they are doing all they can.

  5. Trevor Mallard says:

    For the record I don’t know of any Labour MPs who want the rail line closed. I know of some leftish local body people in Auckland who are not keen on the rail to Marsden Point being finished because it would make the Marsden Point port a much cheaper option than Auckland.

  6. Jon C says:

    @Trevor Thanks for popping by to clear that up. Cheers

  7. Eric says:

    Here’s an idea how about if all these rail ‘interest groups’ invest there own money in the failing rail lines instead of wanting the tax payer to bail them out (so they they can fail again at a later date).

  8. Jim C says:

    I tend to agree with Trevor on that one. Labour is the Government that bought back the rail and re branded Kiwi. National is the one attempting to set it up to perhaps sell it at a later time. You only need to see the fun about the fact that Auckland council did not end up as the National Government wanted it.

  9. Eric says:

    Our maybe the profitable marsden point refinery could buy the line and upgrade it itself (if it thinks it is such a vital role in the refineries growth).

  10. Luke says:

    nothing to do with refinery. Its all to do with a potential container port ar Marsden. Much more room than Auckland or Tauranga, and has deep water so can handle much bigger ships.
    Any way why would a private business buy it when they get super expensive motorways built for free.
    Saving the northland line would cost the same as only a few 100m of motorway.

  11. Vote National Kill Rail says:

    Eric sounds like a National Party member.

    Luke, totally agree. The fat cats who run the trucking businesses are getting billion dollar highways built for them at the cost to taxpayers.

    It’s criminal that Joyce can force KiwiRail to close lines which only need small sums to remain open and as a long term safety insurance policy agains oil spikes.

    Vote National - Kill Rail

  12. Mike F says:

    Refined fuel comes to Auckland from Marsden point by pipeline to the Wiri storage terminal.Not much call for a rail line for them I would have thought.

  13. Matt says:

    Eric, so you support the trucking industry, as majority beneficiaries of Puford, paying for a majority of the project? No? Didn’t think so.
    What’s good for the goose (rail) should be good for the gander (road). But not to the way of thinking of small-minded anti-rail bigots such as yourself.

  14. LucyJH says:

    Yeah, bring it on! Would be awesome to see trucking industry coughing up $2 billion for Puhoi.

  15. Rationale says:

    The Marsden Point Line won’t happen unless the public get sick of having Cargo Ships at the Port of Auckland I’m afraid - I have been told this by reliable industry contacts (Sorry!).

  16. Eric says:

    Well for your information Matt, I would support the trucking industry building puhoi-wellsford privately. I would also like the marsden point to build it themselves if they could. I think that if they want it bad enough they should build it themselves. I do remember saying in another debate we had matt that I said it should be privately built so that the money can be put into the CBD rail loop. No I’m not a national party memember I do however support Libartarianz (being one myself).

  17. tim says:

    Sorry guys, we need to get real and look out the window. T the realities of NZ’s island geography continue to prove that coastal shipping has a distinct advantage over rail for the bulk carriage of nearly all goods through NZ. As a result, we know that less than 33% of the rail network in NZ is actually required. The rest is actually destroying shareholder value and costing taxpayers money. The national train set needs to be cut back - governments have been burning money for years trying to make these things wash their own faces. :(

  18. Luke says:

    ahh, tim you need to get real. coastal shipping is no good for Auckland - Hamilton, Auckland-Palmerston North., Taranaki - Napier. Rail can match road delivery times for Auck-Chch, Auck - Wgtn etc, while coastal shipping is miles behind.

    Maybe Tim you should and talk to Fonterra, Toll and Mainfreight, nz biggest exporter, and nzs biggest freight forwarders who are all investing big in rail. In the last 5 years fonterra has totally reoirentated its export distribution chains to put more on rail, and is continuing to do so, investing big money in rail served warehouses.

    The govt didnt invest any money between 1990 and 2005 in the rail freight network, and now is still investing less than the cost of one 10km section of motorway.

  19. Mike F says:

    @ Vote National Kill rail

    “The fat cats who run the trucking businesses are getting billion dollar highways built for them at the cost to taxpayers”.

    Is the taxpayer paying for the highways ? At over 2 billion a year in road user and fuel taxes is it not the road user who is paying for the highways ?

  20. Luke says:

    @ mike, the puhoi - wellsford road costs about the same as the entire money from fuel taxes for 1 year.
    It is not being paid for by the people that use that road.
    I think there would need to be $20 toll to cover the costs, but this would push so many people off the road, this still wouldnt raise anywhere near the money required.

  21. Matt says:

    Mike F, there was a funding shortfall from roading taxes for the ordinary annual budget, and then we got the Roads of Significance to National. The taxpayer’s been topping-up the roads budget for years, even before Joyce foisted his umpty-billion-dollar white elephants on us.

    So, yes, the taxpayer is paying for the highways.

  22. Matt L says:

    Mike - there is a funding shortfall of at least $1billion a year and that is topped up from general taxes. Also only about half of local roading costs are paid for by the NZTA leaving the rest is paid for by councils from rates so if you add it all up there would be at least $2 billion a year in roading costs that aren’t covered by road taxes.

  23. Geoff says:

    If the Marsden Point line was built, it would attract three log trains a day from Otiria, two a day from Dargaville, and three or four woodchip trains a day from Portland. Marsden Point is the key to making Otiria and Dargaville successful. The plan is, I believe, to close Otiria and Dargaville, so that Marsden Point can no longer be justified. Auckland-Kauri, for one or two customers, is all that will remain under Jim Quinn’s plan.

  24. Vote National - Kill Rail says:

    Perhaps Jim Quinn is being pushed by Joyce to close the lines…so then Marsden Point remains only open to the Trucking Lobby…and also attempts to justify his white elephant - Joyce’s $2 billion Puford extension?

    Whatever Joyce does is to benefit the Trucking Lobby - the National Party’s financial backer.

    Vote National - Kill Rail

  25. Eric says:

    Correction, the road user charges and fuel tax cover the maintenance needed that is caused by cars and trucks. However the other fifty percent is normally caused by sun and wind etc… and anyway we pay millions keeping uneconomic train lines open and not actually bothering to fix up the ones that are useful. This is because the revenue bought in from rail barely scratches the surface when it comes to maintaining the lines.

  26. Vote National - Kill Rail says:

    Eric - to correct your misinformation. Why should rail have to cover all maintenance charges plus investment for new capital projects, while under your plan roads don’t have to?

    Why should roads only cover some of the maintenance but not future capital expenditure on new road projects?

    Why the amazing “give” to loss making roads?

    Vote National - Kill Rail

  27. Rationale says:

    Sorry Tim - Coastal Shipping is too slow and unwieldy for container freight, hence the reason for Fonterra moving some of their internal shipping over to Rail. I own a company that imports and exports myself - read Luke’s reply it’s spot on

  28. Kurt says:

    There is a major lack of vision and planning with the governments approach to rail. There is no holistic approach to transport planning in this country at the moment, no overseeing of its future, no imagination.

    Why do rail lines that can and do benefit the greater NZ have to run at a profit with maintenance paid for by Kiwirail but roads don’t have a profit factor whatsoever and the maintenance is paid for by everyone.

    Does the Harbour bridge run at a profit, does Tamaki Drive, does SH 1 throughout Northland?

    I ask this because wider cost benefits would mean rail takes trucks off our SH 1 etc in Northland meaning less maintenance on the roads, makes the roads safer, cuts imports of fuel, cuts emissions etc etc.

    I have been told the Northland rail line cutsaround 20000 truck journeys annually although it is losing Kiwirail money under the current model.

    But the line needs plenty of money spending on the infrastructure to speed up travel times along it, a catch 22.

  29. Vote National - Kill Rail says:

    Kurt - I totally agree with you.

    Vote National - Kill Rail

  30. Matt says:

    Kurt, even in its current state it takes 20k trucks annually off the road? Damn! Imagine what it could do if it were maintained, even upgraded.

    I don’t think it’s fair to blame Quinn for where things are headed. His master, the Minister of Trucks, wants rail to die off and has given Quinn precisely the kinds of profitability demands that will ensure that almost nothing survives. If Joyce could get NIMT closed down without bringing SH1/SH2/SH4 to a screeching halt under the weight of millions move truck movements a year, he’d do it in a heartbeat.

  31. Jim C says:

    Been watching the arguments on here. Its great to see the variety. However I do believe that National will try and kill rail. They nearly did it last time they were in, but it has come back. I do know the costs involved on rail but considering no maintenance was done under National’s previous rule I cant see much more done other than that was under way under Labour. If all of you want rail then vote Labour back in. If you don’t then be aware of the B trains on our roads not keeping to speed limits, as they do at present. Allow for more major crashes involving trucks. As far as trucks on the road the only good ones are those governed to speed 90km/h. Thank you Fonterra. Pity the others operators don’t do that.

  32. tim says:

    I’m glad everyone agrees that rail is only relevant in certain cases and for certain lines, certainly not for every single one that’s being forced to operate despite there being no real need for them.

    The current situation, where unnecessary lines are kept open to keep vested political interests and enthusiasts placated is grossly unfair, inefficient and unsustainable, as the taxpayer, customers using needed lines and everyone else is forced to cough up the difference.

    I look forward to the rail network being cut back to a sustainable level - back to the rail lines where it’s actually needed. As I said before, less than a third of NZ’s rail network actually required. Assuming the business is run efficiently (there is little evidence of this at the moment), this would reduce the costs of the rail network by up to 60% and enable it to repay all the billions of dollars that taxpayers have lost in throwing good money after bad.

  33. millsy says:

    A few thoughts I have:

    1) Kiwirail is dragging this out unnessesariliy. It is clear that it wants to close the gisborne and northland rail networks (along with the SOL), and dragging this process out over 3 years is a huge waste of time. KiwiRail should have put everyone out of their misery and just closed the lines down back in 09. This uncertainty really benefits no-one, not least those whose livelihoods depend on the lines. The consultation period is a sham. Everyone knows that KR will just shred the submissions the close the lines anyway.

    2) Labour has as much blame for this as anyone else. Their comprimise with Toll which left the government with the track assetts and Toll with exclusive rights till 2070 made no one happy. They should have pushed on with the original plan or purchased the lot there and then. We would probably have these lines done up, the Marsden line built and a whole lot of other stuff done by now. The government should have told Toll to piss off, or given it the trucking business to placate it. The Labour party only purchased Toll’s part of the operation in 2008 because it was way behind in the poll and staring at an election defeat.

    3) And Eric is right. the local communities should cough up and purchase the threatened lines, and find an operator who would be more receptive to running rail services. At least that way, the lines would be safe from closure (they could be vested in a community trust or something, with a commercial operator running rail services to Auckland or something like that. Im sure KR wouldnt mind if they didnt need or want the lines,and it would save on the costs of ripping up a line.

  34. Kurt says:

    Tim, why should all taxpayers pay for the Holiday Highway?? Most don’t use it, it loses money hand over fist, costs us all billions in maintenance anyway improved or not. Actually most New Zealanders don’t use the Harbour Bridge either.

    It grossly unfair.

    I look forward to a government that gets its head out of its arse and realises the 1950′s dreams of roads to eternity are long over.

  35. Luke says:

    @ Tim. which 33% of lines would you keep?

    Northland and Gisborne are the only lines that are open and dont make any money at the moment.
    However there is strategic value in keeping all the lines, because there is a good chance we will need them in the future.

    For example one road realignment near Wairoa cost $30 million, and this was largely for trucks because the road was too narrow. This sort of money could have kept the Napier - Gsborne line going for a the best part of a decade.

  36. Jim C says:

    @ Luke. Good comment. It hasn’t altered the rest of the road between Napier and Wairoa which is still very bad. I have driven trucks and trailers over that road years ago. The bit they “fixed up” by building the viaduct was a slow bit, but there is still an awful lot of road yet to fix. This is one example where rail trumps road.

  37. Matt says:

    Tim nothing is “forced” to operate on rail. Any company that uses rail for transporting goods is doing so as a choice, because goodness knows there’s enough option to use road if they so desire.

    That Fonterra is putting bulk quantities of product on trains is a tremendous vote of confidence in the long-term viability of rail, and that is absolutely a choice that they have made. It’s not like they’re short of road tankers, if they wanted to use them.

  38. Eric says:

    Vote national kill rail. I believe that expensive roads should be built and maintained privately that would free up a whole lot of money, in fact it would be good if our whole road network were done that way, but since in this country we’re terrified of privatisation I doubt that will happen. and anyway since when did kiwi rail have to stump up the cost themselves for new capital? They’re getting a 750 million dollar capital injection from the government to improve lines and have recently got new trains with more coming on the way.

  39. Matt says:

    Eric, it absolutely won’t happen, and for good reason. Privatisation assumes the private sector can do things better and cheaper than the state, which is a complete fallacy.
    Privatised roads would be an absolute nightmare, for not least of which reasons as the state doesn’t have to make a profit and it still needs to take money from the taxpayer purse to maintain the current network; and that’s not counting ratepayer-maintained roads, either. The private sector could not achieve the same levels of service, and have a profit margin, without costs going up dramatically. It’s simply not possible.

    Of course, you’re a stated libertarian which means you’re incapable of deeper thought than “Private good, public bad”.

    KR gets $4b over 10 years and has to become profitable. The road network gets $4b of non-road-tax money roughly every three years, and will never be profitable. I still don’t see the problem with KR getting money.

  40. Matt says:

    PS: Eric, if the whole road network was privatised the buyer(s) would also have to charge a huge premium to cover the costs of servicing the massive loans required to buy a multi-billion-dollar asset. The state highway network alone, being only 12% of the total road network, is valued in excess of $20b by Treasury.

    Or were you proposing that the state give away tens-of-billions of dollars of taxpayer-owned property?

  41. Luke says:

    a fair chunk of the $4 billion kiwirail is investing is coming from the business itself, so it shouldnt’ be counted as public investment.
    The new locomotives aren’t govt subsidized at all.
    another cases of the nats pretending they’re doing more than they actually are.
    @eric the expensive roads would never be built if the private sector had to build them, that is our point. they are just too expensive, and tolls would never cover the cost of capital.
    There is not a level playing field between roads and rail in NZ.

  42. Eric says:

    Look at telecom before and after privatisation, look at healthcare public and private, hell just before the railways were bought back they were towing record amounts of freight per km. The fact is that private sector can do things better because they are not held back by government ownership. I’m not saying we should sell the roads all at once and at any rate not to the same company. The fact that roads get more is simple: they are everywhere, outside our houses,businesses etc… so a lot more is needed to maintain them then rail. Hay maybe the higher costs (if indeed there are any) to drive could even encourage people to used alternative forms of transport. @Luke, thats a good reason why they shouldn’t be built because private businesses run on economics, not politics. They will build it when it makes economic sense to do so, not just for votes.

  43. Matt says:

    Eric, Telecom’s improvement came with corporatisation, not privatisation. Once it went private, we got screwed. They under-invested in the network, ran down their infrastructure. Telecom’s best service, from a holistic view, came when it was made an SOE. They weren’t shafting the country, and you could get good service.

    Rail, same deal. The private owners ran it into the ground, stripping out the assets in order to get the money out. Highest kilometre tonnage means zip when you’re on the verge of being unable to continue operating anything because you’ve under-spent on maintenance.

    Privatisation leads to bad outcomes. Profit has no place in healthcare, at all, because people cannot make rational choices about their health. And when you can pick-and-choose your patients with the knowledge that you can drop the bad ones on the public sector of course you look good. Do you know which age group in the US has the best healthcare outcomes? The over-65s, who get state-funded Medicare. For everyone else, their for-profit healthcare system leads to worse outcomes and shorter lifespans.

    For everything else, I’m far from convinced that the private sector does it better. Cheaper, maybe, but often at a higher cost in the long-term as they destroy the asset in the pursuit of ever-higher profits.

  44. Eric says:

    Telecom brought in enormous new capital, significant efficiencies, technological innovation and responsiveness to competition. For example, $5 unlimited national weekend phone calls were a Telecom innovation which broke the back of years of complicated expensive tariffs for long distance toll calls.

    There was substantial investment in wagons, including on passenger services during most of the 1990s, and a big drive for efficiency, customer service and logistics. In other words meeting the needs of freight customers not politicians. Now some of the customers had a few issues when Tranz Rail wanted it to invest in wagons, and some lines had come to the end of their useful lives (worth running into the ground, but not worth replacing the wornout lines), but that was it.

    I actually believe that because NZ is so small that we can afford universal healthcare, but what I don’t agree agree with is that you still have to pay for it even if you decide to go private (ACC levies, taxes etc). I don’t know where you got your facts from but American Healthcare is one of the best in the world in terms of treatment. Your fact also doesn’t take into account that America is very disfunctional in terms of drugs and violence. So saying the lifespan is low (78 by the way which is hardly ‘low’ by any standards) due to healthcare is completely wrong. You may say that people can’t make the proper choices when they are in ill health but I think the can tell the difference between getting it done right away or spending 6 months on a waiting list.

  45. tim says:

    I think we need to all stop making excuses for rail and look at the real problems that have dogged the industry for years, whether as a public or private industry. These things are in plain sight and continue to hang around like bad smells despite the best of intentions. Here’s a list!

    Forced to keep unprofitable lines open, leading to cross subsidisation by other lines and taxpayers
    Monopoly provider but still needs to leech off taxpayers
    Taxpayer subsidies actually used to reduce rail customers’ freight costs. Take away subsidies, freight customers disappear.
    Best and brightest staff driven overseas
    Overpaid executives, underpaid staff
    Lack of performance based incentives for executives
    Unproductive and unhappy workfore despite massive amounts of capital “investment”
    Old and antiquated systems
    Political interferenace due to taxpayer having to support the “business”

  46. Luke says:

    @Tim you seem to have a very skewed view of history.
    Tranz Rail were never forced to keep lines.
    Tranz Rail had no subsidies from 1990 till the tracks were bought back in 2003, and even then money was put into deferred maintenance, not subsidising serivces.
    I thnik there may have been one small subsidy given to moving logs in the Waikato in about 2007, but apart from that there have been no specific subsidies.
    In this same time massive investments have occurred in roading, without operators having to commit any capital or risk.

  47. Matt says:

    Eric, that Telecom kept dividends high by under-investing in the network is well-known and well-documented. Go look. Their investment in new tech was negligible until the unbundling stick was used and Labour called Gattung’s bluff. Their annual maintenance spend was a fraction of the industry norm, and their true “commitment” to upgrades is best shown by the fact that NZ’s last party line was only decommissioned in the last five years. They had voice switches in use for 15 years past their designed end-of-life, which is not the behaviour of a company that’s spending it large on capital investment in new technology. They finally started using IP for their network core in the mid-late 00′s, which was five years or more after it had become a mature technology for small voice carriers internationally.

    You do understand that ACC is not just about paying for the care, right? It’s also about keeping lawyers out of it, which protects us from higher product costs and insurance levies for professionals and businesses who might otherwise be sued for injuries that occur, even entirely outside their control, on their premises.

    You really, really need to read more, and not just within the stuff that supports your ideological blinkers. 78 may not be low, but it’s 13 years of life above that wonderful 65 point where Medicare kicks in. Their infant mortality rates are very high by OECD standards, which is an indicator of poor healthcare.
    “Getting it done right away” only works if your insurance company doesn’t deny you coverage. Which, in the US, is unlikely. Getting insurance coverage is a crapshoot, if you’re lucky, and no amount of harking to the miracles of the free market can change that. If you don’t have insurance, which is something like a third of the US population, then best of luck surviving that nasty-but-treatable illness.
    Universal healthcare has nothing to do with size. The US is the only member of the OECD that doesn’t have it, and although it’s got the largest population of the group NZ is much smaller than many of the other countries that also have universal healthcare.

    Anyway, this is getting well away from transport. To get back on track, as it were, how about you lobby Joyce to get the private sector to build, own, operate, and maintain for entire designed life, all road upgrades from this point onwards? That’s roughly consistent with what’s being expected of KR, and in the case of the Roads of Significance to National I think we’d find there’s no appetite in the private sector to build something that cannot possibly pay its own way if the operator cannot dump the loss-making asset onto the state in the future.

  48. Vote National - Kill Rail says:

    Matt - completely agree.

    I take it Tim and Eric are bed fellows.

    Vote National - Kill Rail

  49. GJA says:

    Is the whole National Party against rail, surely not? Or is it just the most senior people (SJ & BE)?

    Rail should not be a left-right issue, that is ridiculous, we as New Zealanders should look at international trends and not be blinded by the groups funding the parties.

    Even the minister of tourism should be able to see the potential of having a workable rail infrastructure.

  50. Matt says:

    GJA, Brownlee is also agin it, as quoted by English when asked if there was anyone in the National Cabinet more doubtful about it than himself. Which makes for a very senior barrier to real progress.

    Nikki Kaye has previously-recorded utterances that’re favourable, but is still rather junior and has, in any case, been keeping her head down on the topic since it became apparent that even though her electorate will benefit enormously from the CBD Link it is a topic generally unpopular in the caucus, and a topic very unpopular with very senior members thereof.

  51. Eric says:

    The type of technology involved (like all technology) in telecommunications is expensive, dates quickly and needs to be replaced constantly. There is no use accusing Telecom from under-investing because up until recently its sole role was to allow customers to make calls and it made a huge improvement on this since government ownership. Secondly, we were one of the first countries to have flat rate dial up. Third, ADSL (broadband) technology was expensive up until the late 90′s and it was rolled out for residential use and telecom was leading the world in this respect.
    On unbundling, why should Telecom have given up lines that it maintained and built itself? Vodafone didn’t become NZ biggest cellphone provider just by by stealing some of telecoms network did it. So why should the same apply to the lines.

    I don’t care what ACC pays for, if I don’t use it I shouldn’t have to pay for it as simple as that.

    On healthcare you make a contradiction, you say that Americans have shorter life spans yet don’t deny (and actually agree with) that the average lifespan is 78. Also how did you come to the conclusion that the only reason Americans live that long simply because of medicare in the final years of there lives? That’s a bit like saying that if New Zealand didn’t have universal healthcare than none of us would make it past childbirth! Lower infant mortality rates? In the United States, very low-birth-weight infants have a much greater chance of being brought to term with the latest medical technologies. Some of those low-birth-weight babies die soon after birth, which boosts their infant mortality rate, but in many other Western countries, those high-risk, low-birth-weight infants are not included when infant mortality is calculated. Also I only said we are small enough to afford it because we are and I didn’t say what other countries could an couldn’t have it. You also say that getting health coverage in America is ‘unlikely’ well try saying that to the two thirds of Americans who actually have health insurance and the other third that under US law must be treated in emergencies.

    I would love Steven Joyce to do that but like I said before I doubt that It will happen until someone gets the political will to actually do it. I think that if the private sector built it then only Puhoi-wellsford and transmission gully would be questionable but everything else could probably work.

    Also Vote National Kill Rail, how about actually contributing to this debate instead of just piggy backing of other people and insulting the ones you don’t agree with.

  52. Viewed from afar it seems crazy on the one hand to talk/plan to build a new line to Marsden port and on the other hand to propose to close the main line which would service it. Something very weird there. As to political parties being for or against things versus cabals within them being for or against, well, the weakness of the democratic process is that at a General Election one gets only one vote but the result is taken as a yea or nay for a whole swathe of projects/plans; one may agree with some of a party’s proposals but very much disagree with others - yet only have that one vote. Unfortunately political parties - over here in the UK anyway - have no sense of long-term planning or far-sightedness, just till the next election. The sensible thing is to keep all options open and never take any irrevocable step such as closing a railway line. Here we singled miles and miles of railway line in the 70s and 80s because BR was starved of money by the politicians - and these lines are now having to be relayed at great expense. I wish you luck in trying to penetrate the pachydermal minds in Parliament.


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>