Gisborne Rail Co-op’s plan a much better fit

LETTER

Re: KiwiRail defends choice of railbike venture, April 17 story.

David Gordon of KiwiRail is absolutely right in emphasising the importance of retaining the railway track to Gisborne. Mayor Foon’s apparent plan to rip up the rails for a cycleway, whatever the benefits of such, would be an act of extreme and irresponsible vandalism.

David Gordon also has a point when he says the railbike venture is best for KiwiRail; it would give them some income and cost them nothing. But he is wrong to deny local interests an opportunity to put the railway line to better use. Just because KiwiRail cannot operate it efficiently does not mean that no one can.

Gisborne Rail Co-operative’s proposal would, again, cost KiwiRail nothing but would likely produce a significantly greater income and would be of greater benefit to Gisborne’s economy. GRC should be given the opportunity to prove this — after all, it would be at their risk, not KiwiRail’s.

Peter Wooding

David Gordon and KiwiRail must be deluded if they believe the headline in Saturday’s Gisborne Herald. They are fully aware of the community’s desire for the return of rail to Gisborne and have stonewalled all efforts by both the Gisborne Rail Co-op and, previously, the Napier-Gisborne Rail Consortium. Why?

They were invited to the Tairawhiti Rail Forum in November 2016 but chose not to attend and were written a letter in December by the Gisborne Rail Co-op to open a dialogue but to this date, this letter has not been acknowledged, let alone replied to!

New Zealand lives and dies by exporting and to deny one of this country’s key horticultural and forestry areas of a rail service (which Gisborne Rail Co-op wished to provide at no cost to KiwiRail) for export produce because railbikes are a better fit, is, in this writer’s opinion, tantamount to treason!

Gisborne Rail Co-op’s Expression of Interest was for a freight and tourism operation, surely a much better fit for Gisborne than restricting the rail line to solely tourist ventures. The whole community would benefit, not just a single tourism operator.

It must be remembered that the recent Gisborne Herald poll re railbikes, for which there were over 700 respondents (surely close to a Gisborne Herald record), showed over 55 percent did not support KiwiRail’s decision re railbikes getting exclusive use of the line between Gisborne and Wairoa (Wa165 excepted).

For KiwiRail to ignore this and try to fob us off with spin shows they have no real interest in doing anything tangible for this community now or in the future.

Stuart Dow

Railwayman and GRC member

David Gordon, KiwiRail asset management, certainly knows how to add insult to injury. Claiming that the Gisborne Rail Co-operative had not supplied sufficient information (Gisborne Herald, April 15) to back its submission is hypocritical. There is information in the public domain which Mr Gordon has avoided telling us — such as KiwiRail’s $230 million-plus debt-servicing costs, a small fraction of which could pay for track repairs. Ridiculous that the Crown borrows on the private capital markets when it has the sovereign power to credit-fund public assets.

Scandalous when it is the government’s responsibility to fund our essential infrastructures.

“We avoid the need for 1.4 million truck trips a year on our roads,’’ boasts KiwiRail on its website. Can’t Mr Gordon read the official rhetoric?

Harry Smith

Dave Gordon of KiwiRail and the National-led Government-appointed directors of the KiwiRail board might want to be reminded that an election is coming. New Zealand First is coming. They will be leaving. The Gisborne to Napier railway line will reopen for trains but without the current incompetence at the helm.

Jon Reeves

Mangere East

Re: KiwiRail defends choice of railbike venture, April 17 story.

David Gordon of KiwiRail is absolutely right in emphasising the importance of retaining the railway track to Gisborne. Mayor Foon’s apparent plan to rip up the rails for a cycleway, whatever the benefits of such, would be an act of extreme and irresponsible vandalism.

David Gordon also has a point when he says the railbike venture is best for KiwiRail; it would give them some income and cost them nothing. But he is wrong to deny local interests an opportunity to put the railway line to better use. Just because KiwiRail cannot operate it efficiently does not mean that no one can.

Gisborne Rail Co-operative’s proposal would, again, cost KiwiRail nothing but would likely produce a significantly greater income and would be of greater benefit to Gisborne’s economy. GRC should be given the opportunity to prove this — after all, it would be at their risk, not KiwiRail’s.

Peter Wooding

David Gordon and KiwiRail must be deluded if they believe the headline in Saturday’s Gisborne Herald. They are fully aware of the community’s desire for the return of rail to Gisborne and have stonewalled all efforts by both the Gisborne Rail Co-op and, previously, the Napier-Gisborne Rail Consortium. Why?

They were invited to the Tairawhiti Rail Forum in November 2016 but chose not to attend and were written a letter in December by the Gisborne Rail Co-op to open a dialogue but to this date, this letter has not been acknowledged, let alone replied to!

New Zealand lives and dies by exporting and to deny one of this country’s key horticultural and forestry areas of a rail service (which Gisborne Rail Co-op wished to provide at no cost to KiwiRail) for export produce because railbikes are a better fit, is, in this writer’s opinion, tantamount to treason!

Gisborne Rail Co-op’s Expression of Interest was for a freight and tourism operation, surely a much better fit for Gisborne than restricting the rail line to solely tourist ventures. The whole community would benefit, not just a single tourism operator.

It must be remembered that the recent Gisborne Herald poll re railbikes, for which there were over 700 respondents (surely close to a Gisborne Herald record), showed over 55 percent did not support KiwiRail’s decision re railbikes getting exclusive use of the line between Gisborne and Wairoa (Wa165 excepted).

For KiwiRail to ignore this and try to fob us off with spin shows they have no real interest in doing anything tangible for this community now or in the future.

Stuart Dow

Railwayman and GRC member

David Gordon, KiwiRail asset management, certainly knows how to add insult to injury. Claiming that the Gisborne Rail Co-operative had not supplied sufficient information (Gisborne Herald, April 15) to back its submission is hypocritical. There is information in the public domain which Mr Gordon has avoided telling us — such as KiwiRail’s $230 million-plus debt-servicing costs, a small fraction of which could pay for track repairs. Ridiculous that the Crown borrows on the private capital markets when it has the sovereign power to credit-fund public assets.

Scandalous when it is the government’s responsibility to fund our essential infrastructures.

“We avoid the need for 1.4 million truck trips a year on our roads,’’ boasts KiwiRail on its website. Can’t Mr Gordon read the official rhetoric?

Harry Smith

Dave Gordon of KiwiRail and the National-led Government-appointed directors of the KiwiRail board might want to be reminded that an election is coming. New Zealand First is coming. They will be leaving. The Gisborne to Napier railway line will reopen for trains but without the current incompetence at the helm.

Jon Reeves

Mangere East

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Robert Logan, ex NZR employee - 6 months ago
Gisbourne - Wairoa line joins Northland and Marsden Point Port line, zilch government encouragement and/or funds.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Did Winston Peters and New Zealand First make the right decision?