Gisborne rail petition heads to capital

By Court Reporter

 A petition to save the Napier-Gisborne rail line was recently presented to Parliament.
Containing 3500 signatures, it was gathered over six months.
"The signatures were collected in Gisborne, Hawke's Bay and Wairoa - all areas that will be affected by any changes," Rail Action Group spokesperson Liz Graham said.
Its purpose was firstly to promote the view that central and local government should maintain and develop the line for the benefit of residents, businesses and the environment.
And secondly, it was to suggest that the Government's threat to mothball or close the line next year be withdrawn.
"The petition was basically to demonstrate the level of support that exists for the rail line and to make sure it's an election issue," Gisborne District Councillor Manu Caddie said.
"While it might not be self sufficient now, once the lines have been mothballed or closed it would be a very costly process to get them going again."
East Coast Green Party candidate Darryl Monteith took the petition from the Rail Action Group to Wellington on May 5.
Mr Monteith shared the group's issues with closing the line, saying to cut off rail access between towns would not be sensible - especially taking into account the rising price of oil.
There were also economic and social benefits to keeping the rail line open, he said. These included energy efficiency, and cutting the number of trucks on the road.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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