This week the Green Party has called for rail commuter development around the country as part of a post-Covid economic stimulus package for the country. As reported in this Stuff article, they suggest $9 billion should be invested over 10 years to build high speed commuter networks centered around Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. In our region, Christchurch-Rangiora is a particular focus, with the possibility of extending to Ashburton or Timaru to be considered as well.
A quick search on the Stuff website shows there have been many commuter rail proposals articulated over the past ten or more years. These have all been sidelined by Wellington until Labour put a proposal into their manifesto at the last election. There were similar campaigns from the Greens and NZ First as well, but no progress has been made on the issue for various reasons, the key one being that Labour has favoured one of its own local body politicians in Christchurch proposing a city-only solution instead of the Greater Christchurch regional option that heavy rail is most suited to. This flies in the face of the longstanding campaigns in the city for heavy rail as well as the views of the other two parties of Government.
We will be writing a submission over the next few days that will be copied to the Greens, Labour and NZ First as the parties that are supportive of commuter rail development in Greater Christchurch. It will be including material that we have previously published on this blog in support of Greater Christchurch commuter rail development, and will be asking some hard questions about the lack of progress on the 2018 proposals, as well as pushing for more action from the parties than we have got so far.
So watch this space as we will include the submission in another post on this site when it has been written and sent.
Examples of previous reporting on commuter rail:
- 2009: Mayor Bob Parker proposition – http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/406277/Commuter-rail-network-mayors-goal
- 2013: David Killick proposition – http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/transport/9287697/Commuter-rail-needed-for-rebuilt-city
- 2014: Ecan commissioners to investigate commuter rail – http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/transport/9967916/Traffic-delays-force-commuter-rail-services-probe
- 2014: Ecan’s page relating to their investigations. The report basically found that a service was likely to carry 500 passengers a day and would pay its way at that patronage level, but it appears that the Government was unwilling to provide funding for the establishment of the services. It was a followup to a previous report produced in 2008. Links to both reports are included in this page – https://www.ecan.govt.nz/your-region/living-here/transport/public-transport-services/future-public-transport/
- 2015: Reinvestigation of the 2014 proposals by Christchurch City Council following lobbying from one of their community boards – https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/74965778/christchurch-commuter-rail-back-on-the-city-councils-agenda
- 2017: Tane Apanui’s Dash Rail proposal to the Greater Christchurch Joint Public Transport Committee – https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/92688088/committee-nixes-grassroots-commuter-rail-plan-for-christchurch-but-option-not-ruled-out-completely
- 2017: Labour Party proposal from leader Andrew Little – https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/92688088/committee-nixes-grassroots-commuter-rail-plan-for-christchurch-but-option-not-ruled-out-completely
- 2019: Social Credit’s Canterbury Rail proposals – https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1912/S00317/social-credit-promises-action-on-christchurch-rail-plan.htm