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A petition signed by more than 10,000 people to save the Gisborne to Napier rail line will not proceed any further because a Parliamentary committee chaired by National MP David Bennett claims it doesn’t need investigation, says Labour MP Moana Mackey.
“The dumping of the petition shows National is continuing to duck for cover over the future of the Gisborne rail line. It is ignoring the concerns of more than 10,000 residents who signed it and shows an arrogant disregard for Mayor Meng Foon and rail supporters who travelled to Wellington to present the petition.
“Earlier in the week, I questioned the Chair of the Transport and Industrial Relations select committee, David Bennett, about the progress of the petition given it had been languishing there since the beginning of May.
“Two days later, the committee has now sent a report back to the House stating it does not believe there are any matters needing investigation despite Opposition members pushing for the petition to be progressed.
"It is usually the convention that petitioners and government officials be invited to provide a written submission, and from there the committee decides whether or not to hear from the petitioners in person. On an issue this important, and with so many signatures, I would have expected the Mayor at least to have been invited to present to the committee in person.
"The National Government is showing arrogant disregard for the people of the East Coast who are deeply concerned about the possible loss of the rail line and the impact that will have on their local economy and community,” said Moana Mackey.