Historically, 20th-century thinking was seriously amiss as much fertile food producing land became covered in concrete, asphalt and sprawling buildings followed with multi-lane motorways, roads, interchanges and ugly concrete flyovers having occurred without reproach for decades.

Ideally better to intensify cities and towns linked by an attractive rail network ideally adorned with eye-pleasing stations also connecting rural centres.

The wisdom of the past combined with foresight could present New Zealand public rail transport as a wonderful asset of national pride but more importantly as a great convenience to everyday lives. Are we to be corralled to drive (or bus) everywhere? in traffic congestion, etc, when a train might be boarded as is possible in other countries. Is New Zealand that backwards that there is not even a rail link to our biggest airport?

Embarrassingly, yes, at Auckland and other centres, it is true. Roads undeniably will always be necessary, but now 2018 onwards, a major rethink is overdue.

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KiwiRail's scenic rail journeys are not a public transport service but reserved as mere exploitation at highly profitable tourist rates. Where lies the power, profit-driven corporations or common people who vote?

Profits will not save the planet. Tauranga does not need to repeat the Auckland fiasco. Long term benefits to our planet and the public good are motivations to plan passenger rail.

Jos Nagels
Tauranga

Upgrade needed for cruise ship visitors

I learn from media that Perth, Australia's port of Freemantle recently all but lost it's cruise ship business - worth +A$135 million p.a.!

But for a serious "lick of paint" to their arrivals hall facility at the port, major cruising company Carnival apparently was on the brink of "pulling the plug" on continued use of Freemantle as one of their cruising destination port in Australia.

The revamped "Arrivals Hall" has been spruced up to make passengers feel welcomed; to secure the continuance of that valuable tourist connection!

Perhaps a serious, substantial upgrade of arrival facilities at the Ports of Tauranga - currently [embarrassingly] a ship's gallyway suspended by ropes to provide direct passenger access on to dockside from the cruise ship, or a gallyway resting precariously on containers [sometimes stacked] - could sustainably enhance appearance, confidence, and thereby future cruise ship visits!

We should not take +80 cruise ship visits p.a. for granted.

Rather, let the Port's company and the regional council "Joint Venture" and provide 21st Century arrival arrangements so as to continue to attract that valuable foreign exchange expenditure, to benefit us, here!

Alan Trotter
(Former co-owner of an International Tour Operation and Travel Agency)
Tauranga

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