Greens Say Minister “Short Sighted”


The Greens say the transport minister ia making “short-sighted decisions that will harm the economy and hit Kiwis in the back pocket.”

Mr Joyce hinted yesterday that the Government will reduce its operating contribution to national rail operator Kiwirail, and demanded that regional councils and customers “stand up” and pay more to ensure the commercial viability of rail services.

Green Party Transport spokesperson Gareth Hughes. says the minister, Steven Joyce’s “professed focus on the commercial success of Kiwirail is short-sighted and disingenuous.”

“He continues to conveniently ignore the large on-going subsidies to private vehicles and the trucking lobby, despite the mounting evidence in numerous government reports that this has harmful economic consequences,” said Mr Hughes.

“Rail services are likely to suffer when user charges are increased, particularly when the Government is borrowing to make it cheaper and more convenient to go by road.”

Steven Joyce has presided over a policy shift that will see nearly five billion dollars invested in State Highways over the next three years, including “Roads of National Significance”, most of which had no business case and were previously low priorities for the NZTA.

“Last year, an OECD report demonstrated that there is no correlation between state highway investment and economic growth in New Zealand. In fact, by contrast it showed a strong positive correlation between investment in rail and economic growth,” Mr Hughes said.

“The Minister claims that borrowing huge sums of money to fund holiday highways will be good for New Zealand’s economy. This is patently false.

“Petrol prices are on the rise again, and without a viable transport alternative, kiwi households will be hit with higher transport costs, and higher prices for all goods that are moved by rail or road.

“This will have a devastating effect on our economy.

“Every other industrialised nation is investing heavily in rail. New Zealand will continue to fall behind if Steven Joyce doesn’t wake up and realise it’s not 1950,” Mr. Hughes said.

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  1. John Dalley says:

    Any conclusions that Stephen Joyce is pro private transport should now be well and truly laid to rest. I look forward to the road transport industry paying their true cost of the damage to our highways.

  2. ingolfson says:

    The average punter doesn’t care. When prices go up for his fuel, he will call for tax rebates. Only when prices then go up even higher, will they ask what went wrong. Expect that to materialise in about 2-5 years, when we have some shiny new motorways to play golf on.

  3. Jeremy Harris says:

    Lol, not the best surface for golf..!

    I’m loving Gareth Hughes, his parliamentery career in going to be a good one, seems to be very interested in transport…

  4. rtc says:

    @ingolfson - I would say the vocal minority ask for petrol taxes to be removed, supported by the AA. PT usages spiked during the last petrol ‘shock’ a couple of years ago and at $1.84 we’re getting closer and closer to those prices. The average person in Auckland wouldn’t mind catching a train to where they’re going, but most people are not willing simply because the system as it stands is so fragmented, unreliable and slow that it’s just not an option. Seems like it’ll be getting a lot worse over the next few years as well as the large budget cuts we’re seeing start eating even further into service provisions.

  5. Jeremy Harris says:

    Rail is appealing to the wealthy and “upper middle class” who hate sitting in traffic as much as the rest of us, many also want to use a system independent of the road system and is in keeping with their image of themselves and that means rail…

    To quote right wing economist Jeff Rubin, “when oil supplies move from crude pumped out from under the middle east sand to tar sands from Canada and settle at 3 times the price, the government won’t have to tell you what to do, you’ll know, the only question is will there be a bus waiting for you..?”


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