National needs to commit to the full electrification of the Main Trunk Line between Auckland and Wellington so KiwiRail can upgrade to new clean-energy electric trains, the Green Party said today.
KiwiRail is expected to reveal on Monday whether it will replace its existing fleet of electric locomotives with new electric ones, or revert back to diesel locomotives.
“It would be ridiculous to revert back to dirty diesel trains, particularly given National’s promise to move away from climate-polluting fossil fuels like diesel," said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.
“National needs to step up and commit to an electric rail future by completing the electrification of the Main Trunk Line.
“Part of the reason KiwiRail is even considering going back to diesel trains is because its electric trains can only go as far as Te Rapa and Palmerston North.
“National could fix this problem by funding the electrification of the Main Trunk Line, but instead it’s choosing to prioritise billion dollar, low-value motorways like the ‘holiday highway’ from Puhoi to Wellsford.
“National is willing to spend almost seven times more on the ‘holiday highway’ alone than it spends each year on investing in the rail network.
“Countries around the world are moving towards electric transport. It would be embarrassing if the National Government decided to go backwards and replace clean-energy trains with polluting diesel ones,” said Ms Genter.