27 April 2016
National should let KiwiRail compete for funding from the enormous roading budget and scrap the two-tiered funding system which grossly favour costly highway projects, the Green Party said today.
The comments come following a report by KiwiRail showing it considered shutting down its entire freight business to meet the Government’s requirements to deliver a short-term profit.
“The $3 billion a year in National’s transport budget should be opened-up to be invested in rail, not just roads," said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.
“National's current system grossly favours investment in a few expensive motorways, and under-invests in New Zealand's rail system.
“The Government should be funding whatever transport project offers the best solution for shifting freight, reducing climate pollution, and making our roads safer – be that better rail or better roads.
“KiwiRail should not be forced to operate as a commercial enterprise, while National spends over two billion dollars a year on a few expensive highways with no demand for them to return a profit.
“The rail network removes over a million truck trips from our road each year, which means less congestion, less pollution, and safer roads. Not investing in rail is not an option," said Ms Genter.