Transport inquiry chance to get regional rail back on track

The Greens will continue to push for climate friendly, affordable transport options as part of a new cross-party Parliamentary inquiry into the future of inter-regional passenger rail in New Zealand. 

“Investing in rail is a great way to connect our regions and cut climate pollution. As the only party consistently championing rail, we are delighted that there will be a cross-party Select Committee inquiry looking into how best we can do that,” says Green Party transport spokesperson, Julie Anne Genter. 

“It is obvious that to meet our climate targets we need new, more sustainable transport infrastructure, like regional passenger rail, and we need fewer cars on our roads. Government investment in passenger rail has been slow to leave the station so this inquiry will be a great chance to get things back on track. 

“The Green Party has always been clear that fast, frequent, low-carbon transport is crucial for providing our communities with climate-friendly alternatives to using the car. 

“Last month we published an open letter to the Minister of Finance and Minister of Infrastructure calling on the Government to stump up the cash to improve services in the lower north island. 

“As part of the COVID-19 rebuild, we called on the Government to invest in fast, electric passenger services connecting key provincial centres with Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. That was followed at the election by the publication of the most comprehensive transport policy of any party, which included a plan to invest in large scale rapid rail to connect the regions between major cities. 

“Investing in rail for both goods and passengers is a no-brainer. It’s much more energy efficient than cars and trucks, and it can help take pressure off our cities by offering comfortable ways to commute that enable people to work or relax on their journey. We are thrilled that there will be an opportunity for New Zealanders and community organisations to tell MPs how they think the Government should make this happen. 

“Aotearoa New Zealand once had an incredible regional rail service that connected most cities and towns across the country. We are running out of time to address the climate crisis so it’s time to get that back,” says Julie Anne Genter. 

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