This post summarises our Waikato Trains Now! campaign from 2010
In October 2009 CBT launched a petition calling for the immediate start of a Hamilton to Auckland passenger rail service. The petition received widespread support each and every time CBT members took it out to the public for signatures.
In March 2010 the petition of 11,500 signatures was presented to Waikato MPs and Councillors. The petition was then presented to Parliament, and was stopped at the Select Committee level the head of the transport committee, local MP David Bennett.
In September and October 2010 CBT ran a “Vote Trains” local body election campaign, gaining a lot of attention. A signficant number of rail sympathetic councillors were elected to Environment Waikato, Hamilton City Council and Waikato District Council.
In 2011 a petition was presented to Parliament by the town of Tuakau with over 3,500 signatures supporting the rail service.
Following the Local Body Elections a Rail Working Party (RWP) was established involving various Waikato councils, Auckland Council, KiwiRail, NZTA and CBT (with non voting rights) to investigate the feasibility of a rail service. Robin Janson represented CBT on the Working Party with support from various CBT members. After a year of investigation and following several surveys and business cases, all of which strongly supported the establishment of a commuter rail, the RWP made a final report with positive recommendations for the service to the respective council bodies in August 2011.
You can read the final report (PDF) here: Waikato Rail Business Case 2009
Rail Working Party
A service was proposed by the Rail Working Party. The positions of the Councils in 2010 were:
- Waikato District Council’s (WDC) declined to support a regional rate for the rail link and declined to include the rail proposal in the council’s 2012-2022 long term plan.
- Waipa District Council did not support the proposal.
- Hamilton City Council (HCC) decided not to support the service recommended by the Rail Working Party. Any rail service remains as an unfunded item in their future plans.
- Environment Waikato has declined to fund the service. Any rail service remains as an unfunded item in their future plans.
The NZTA has made it clear on a number of occasions that Government funding will not be forthcoming for the service as Government MPs (local and national) have reinforced this position.