Opportunist Labour ignores their own history

It is always fascinating to see the opportunists of left lining up behind the BERL Report which claims the Napier-Gisborne Rail Line ‘might’ one day break-even – fingers crossed.

Labour is trying to re-write history with its opportunist politicking on this issue.

“This is an economic lifeline we cannot afford to lose and the Government should intervene.”

But the facts are that this line’s been in jeopardy since before 2001 and Labour didn’t want a bar of it.

“Tranz Rail announced that it was looking at closing the Napier-Gisborne line. Anderton raised the possibility of renationalisation but was rebuffed by the PM, Helen Clark, who said that the Government could not afford it.”

The argument never went away, and in 2006 Trevor Mallard said a Labour Government would not subsidise the rail line but ‘let it die’

“Acting Finance Minister Trevor Mallard on Tuesday dismissed the funding request, saying that letting the service die would make it more likely a new train would get up and running, not the reverse.”

Labour’s even said recently that it wouldn’t promise to re-open the line.

“They can’t commit to reopening something when they don’t know how much it would cost.”

And by the way, Labour’s new slogan that this line is an economic ‘lifeline’ is debunked in this 2004 report by the Hastings District Council:

“When put in  the context of total daily HGV movements of 16,476 Rail’s current contribution of 90 equivalent truck movements does indeed appear to be insignificant.”

In that same 2004 report, Government subsidies were justified by the vague hope of growth in the future.

•  Gisborne (this  is limited to a  weekly service carrying 22,000 tonnes per  year of mainly inbound fertiliser traffic. However, there is considerable scope for future traffic growth on this section of the line mainly from future harvesting of exotic forests. This is expected to restore traffic  in the medium term back to historic service levels of one train per day in each  direction. In the meantime government support is being sought to retain this section of the line until the expected forestry growth materializes). Despite this activity, Rail movements in and out of the region, not necessarily related to the Port, are relatively low.

 The more things change the more they stay the same.

KiwiRail should just get on and mothball the line, and the Government should just get on and fix the roads.

Labour and their green taliban enablers should be told to shut up.


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  • ConwayCaptain

    The cheapest way to move cargo around NZ is by SEA. The sooner we get a decent coastal shipping service the better

    • Gazzaw

      …………and have MUNZ hold us to ransom CC?

      • blokeintakapuna

        No need now – there is an alternative union that has sprung forth following the disastrous MUNZ handling of their attempted ransoming of PoAL…. just use them. Besides, who would want to work with an illegally operating union?

      • peterwn

        They already have. There was a proposal for tug and barge coastal services years ago, but the MUNZ predecessors were not going to wear it.

        • ConwayCaptain

          SCONZ looked at a pusher barge/tug system. This is faster than tug and tow and easier when coming into port. There was a problem as these systems in the 70’s 80’s were designed for the calm river and intracoastal waterways of the US. Not the riugh seas around NZ. I would assume that these have improved and advanced in the 20-30 years since then and would now be suitable. There would be a crew of 6/7 or a 500=700 TEU container ship with a crew of 12 and she would be docked anually for 2 weeks for the maintenance and painting.

          • Lofty

            Haven’t Seatow been pulling barges around the coast for years?
            They were common sights with loads of scrap metal at Onehunga destined for Pacific Steel I presume.

    • Lofty

      Cap’n do you see any decent shipping service being run by private consortiums, or is there a case to be made for the port companies themselves becoming the shipping owners?

  • Hang him

    They should have shut it down back in the 70’s when the loop beach slip took it out for a year or so. If they had spend all the money on the roads since then it would be a good road. Also railways are always at the the mercy of the union scum, roads aren’t. That’s the best reason not to invest in railways.

  • It would be nice to save the line, but it comes down to dollars and cents. Dunedin saved the gorge line, with a tourist train. But I doubt this line has enough demand to save.

    But in Rotorua they are putting little carts on the railway line and people are traveling up and down the rail line there generating more tourist money. Keeps the line for the future and yet without the major costs of running a heavy rail line.

  • Apolonia

    The line should be repaired. It is a viable option for moving the east coast’s “wall of wood”
    Currently logs from the Wairarapa are being shipped out of Napier, all being transported to the port by rail.
    Prior to the damage to the track the freight carried on the line was increasing.

    The road from Napier to Gisborne would be cheaper to maintain with less trucks on the road and using the rail and maintaining the track would provide employment opportunities.
    Reopening the track makes more economic sense than transmission gully.

    • blokeintakapuna

      So in 2004 – one freight train with inbound fertiliser only was all the rail traffic the line had – but hopes were that it would reach historic levels of one train per day each way…

      It’s still uneconomic. Cost v’s return does not stack up. Roading infrastructure is far better for ALL, accessed by ALL, ANYTIME and it’s more cost effective… and there’s no friggin’ unionists trying to hyjack the railways for their own greed…

    • Goldie

      So you think that it would be economic to repair, maintain and operate a railway line just to transport low value commodity logs in the future?
      How on earth is that a “viable option”?

      • Apolonia

        The logs need transporting, Rail is the best way to move bulky commodities.

        • Hang him

          You are mad that line has never made a brass razu since it was opened in 1948, it was 100 years too late then, shut it down and making a biking trail it may make money for the first time ever. I was brought up in Poverty Bay the railways and railworkers have been an embarrassment to the region since it opened.

  • ConwayCaptain

    A coastal shipping co is a good financial proposition and use crews other than MUNZ.
    The run would be Akl/TGA/Nap/Wth/ChCh/Dun with set nominated times at each container terminal. The BASE cargo could be export cargoes being sent to a hub in TGA or AKL. The Coastal Trader run by SCONZ was chokka each week. Left by Noon Sat and in ChjCh 0700 Mon. 0700 Tues in Dunedin, o700 ChCH and sail pm Wed. Arrive Akl 0700 Friday and she was full S Bound and approx 3/4 N Bound .
    The run would be one ship doing Akl/TGA/ChCh. and another doing Akl/Tga/Wtn/Dun. ship one leave akl/TGA on Fr and the other 3 days later.

    • Hang him

      You are fucking mad, no way would any sane government very let themselves be held ransom by a scum union ever again and let them in. It got nothing to do with cost per tonne it got to do with getting it there with out delay, thief or damage all things Ships and rail can’t do. The scum unions in Dunedin are now holding main-freight to ransom if it comes on rail from CHCH it 2 days delivery if it comes on a truck it 1. Thats why there customers are now looking else where.

    • Hazards001

      It’s how they move cement around, can’t see why it wouldn’t work for other goods…oh…wait…the melons will see a disaster at every turn…nope…move it by pushbike!

      • Hang him

        While we are hoping that they will built a new cement works in Oamaru, the Green Taliban and Nimbys are trying to stop it. Believe it or not Labour is backing the Nimbys trying to stop them reopening the railway spur line to carry the cement from the new factory. Indonesia is looking much more attractive, abit like the hobbit you union scum.

  • peterwn

    I love to see a BERL report done on similar principles for the proposed Puhoi-Wellsford highway – the one some wags call the ‘holiday highway’. It would ‘win’ hands down.

    • JeffDaRef

      Agree totally.
      I get pissed off every time some lefty wanker refers to that as the “holiday highway” – they’ve clearly never spent much time in Northland or know anyone from Northland, because for all the bleating about poverty and needy families, nowhere is doing it tougher at the moment than Northland and that road would open up way more job opportunities up there.
      Even better would be to improve the rail connection AS WELL as the road, and move the Auckland port to Marsden – it would be the making of both regions – Aucklands waterfront could finally be properly developed as a tourism destination and Northland would boom.
      National should make this a spearhead policy and challenge any Northlander to vote for Hone and his grievance machine.

      • Honcho

        My thoughts exactly, i have a better name for ‘the holiday highway’ and its STATE HIGHWAY ONE!!!!

    • Dave

      Love to see a BURL report on the 7th worst Mayors proposed train set running full financials and exploring alternatives.

      • peterwn

        There were two reports in vogue a few years ago – one in support of Len’s train sets and the other trashing Puhoi-Wellsford SH1 upgrade. It is like the old joke ‘what is 2 + 2?’ – engineer 4, scientist 3.9999, accountant – what answer do you want?, economist – it all depends.

  • Goldie

    Labour: “This is an economic lifeline we cannot afford to lose”
    The railway line made a loss. By definition, it is not an “economic” lifeline.
    Labour can’t even write a press release that is internally consistent.

  • ConwayCaptain

    Pulling barges yes but this is slow and time consuming and OK for non urgent cargoes. The coastal service would have to be by container ship and I would assume about 18-19 kts to get the ports in. The Coastal Trader was approx 15 kts and could just do ChCh at 0700 on Monday if she left Akl by 1400 Saty.