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Labour MP for Palmerston North, Iain Lees-Galloway, today launched a petition calling on the Government to work with regional councils to ensure a viable rail connection is maintained between the city and Wellington.
“The petition is in response to KiwiRail’s announcement that it cannot continue to run the Capital Connection commuter train. The service will be cut in July or August if the NZTA does not change its position.
“A viable rail connection between the two biggest cities in the lower North Island is essential. The petition calls for such a service and asks that the Capital Connection be retained in the interim at least,” Iain Lees-Galloway said.
“The Capital Connection or a similar service would be an asset to the Trans Metro schedule on a permanent basis.
“I have already highlighted the anomalies in NZTA’s position to cut the commuter link. It seems odd that congestion criteria was applied to the Capital Connection, but not the Wairarapa line. NZTA also seems happy to provide funding for half the Capital Connection passengers who will end up using the Wellington Metro service, but not the others who would be left with no rail service.
“This typifies the double standard in transport policy at the moment. Similarly, building a Road of National Significance is, according to the NZTA, an acceptable response to congestion but supporting rail is not.
“This petition seeks support to maintain a basic and essential service. I am out collecting signatures today and will table the petition in Parliament at the end of June,” Iain Lees-Galloway said.
The petition can be signed online or in hard copy. Both can be found at www.labour.org.nz/capitalconnection.