Media Release from the Campaign for Better Transport: 23 August 2009
Yesterday the Campaign For Better Transport (CBT) visited towns in the Waikato asking residents and businesses to show their support for commuter trains to Auckland and they received an overwhelmingly positive response, with over 1,000 postcards signed in just a few hours.
Members from the independent transport lobby group Campaign For Better Transport spent several hours yesterday in Huntly, Ngaruawahia, The Base shopping centre in Te Rapa and in Hamilton Central, collecting signatures on postcards which are aimed at making local Hamilton MPs Tim Macindoe and David Bennett, as well as the Minister of Transport Steven Joyce and Prime Minister John Key, aware of the train service the region urgently wants.
“People from all walks of life and from many different Waikato towns back the call for commuter trains” says Jon Reeves, a CBT spokesperson. “The Campaign For Better Transport is surprised that local MPs have not got behind this train service”, says Reeves “even businesses are calling for trains to and from Auckland. Then their staff can work while en route using modern technology like laptops as well as mobile phones, which will be banned from motorists in November. All these can be used on board the trains proposed for the service and increase productivity of the region’s businesses”.
Hamilton East MP David Bennett has publicly stated his opposition to increasing transport options in his electorate through commuter rail, but the CBT has done the ground work and knows that Waikato people want commuter rail services to and from Auckland. Jon Reeves says “Perhaps Bennett should talk with his electorate about the transport improvements they actually want?”
Despite what David Bennett says, the proposed train services will not be competing with the Waikato Expressway for funding. However, they will give the region a much needed alternative to driving into Auckland, and an option that completely misses all the traffic congestion. The price of oil is on the way up again, and commuter trains will provide a fuel effective alternative to driving. David Bennett believes the future is electric cars, but his arguments ignore the unproductive time workers spend behind the steering wheel and the fact that electric cars make traffic jams just like petrol powered cars, even if everyone could afford to get themselves an electric car.
The community support for the postcard campaign has proved so spectacular that the Campaign For Better Transport will shortly need to get more printed.
“Unlike any of the so called ‘Seven Roads of National Significance’, the train service has an excellent proven Cost Benefit Ratio that is higher than is the case for many local roading projects”, says Reeves “This is a classic no brainer for the Government to give the green light to rail. Now, let’s see if common sense prevails and they get the trains on the tracks to Auckland. Failing that, we will continue to send them thousands of postcards in support of the trains.”
Postcards can be downloaded from the CBT website and sent FreePost to an MP.
In the next few weeks a team from CBT will also be around the Waikato region with more postcards.
“We have the passengers, we have the stations, now all we need is the trains” said Reeves.
Business Case Study undertaken by Environment Waikato in May 2009.