An independent report released today confirms that the decision to close the Napier-Gisborne rail line is a result of the Government's anti-rail agenda and has nothing to do with the economics of maintaining the line, Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said today.
A report by economic consultancy BERL shows that the business case presented by Kiwirail to justify the line closure rests on highly dubious assumptions that screw the scrum against rail. More realistic modelling shows that, with the support of local business, especially forest owners, there is massive potential to increase freight carried on the line and make it profitable.
"The Napier-Gisborne rail line is a vital piece of infrastructure for the region's exporters; this report shows it can be run economically," said Ms Genter.
"Kiwirail needs to reverse its decision to close the line and back sustainable transport on the East Coast.
"Unfortunately, the current Government is likely to ignore this new evidence because it is ideologically set against rail. At the same time as it's shelling out billions of dollars for uneconomic motorways, National is fudging the figures to justify closing rail lines in the name of saving a few million dollars.
"Transport policy should be about getting the best value for taxpayer money but, for National, it seems to be about building gold-plated motorways and squeezing the rest of the sector dry.
"The Green Party will make fixing and maintaining our rail lines and increasing freight services a priority, not just for the East Coast, but for the whole country. Moving more freight on rail is cost-efficient, it means safer roads, it's better for the environment, and it helps to reduce our dependence on imported oil. It's the kind of smart, green economic thinking that New Zealand needs," said Ms Genter.