The Daily Blog Open Mic – Sunday 19th February 2017




Announce protest actions, general chit chat or give your opinion on issues we haven’t covered for the day.

Moderation rules are more lenient for this section, but try and play nicely.


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  1. Todays letter to TVNZ Q+A.

    TO; Q&A TVNZ.

    Dear Q+A, 19th February 2017.

    Subject; Running down of our national Rail services & Kiwrail. – Lack of appropriate public purse funding for this SOE compared to NZTA road networks.

    Can you please cover the shocking way the government has left Kiwirail to die, with less funding than ever due to funding constraints while “The Roads of Significance” (RONS) roading get over the 90% of the National Transport funding from our taxes mostly for large big city projects?

    Kiwirail has been forced to close four regional rail services so far, with more to come through lack of funding we are warned.

    Now the iconic Electrified Train services on the north part of the main North Island trunk line is being closed down, when the plan always was to expand electric rail!!!!!!

    The latest shock is the closure of the iconic west Coast Alpine rail service and cancelling of 20 000 pre-booked tourist scenic tours which will harm the Tourism industry also and also harm the Dairy industry with the closure of milk tanker rail transport from the west coast to Canterbury for export production.

    What the hell is Government doing now with the mothballed Gisborne to Napier rail service which was damaged in 2012 by a storm and Government refuse to fix and re-open the service but we see at the same time the Government is strangely now are spending a billion Dollars to fix the Picton to CHCH rail line while,,, leaving NZ’s most isolated city of Gisborne which is now languishing by being cut off and only have a dangerous windy rough road to carry the large increasing log trade to Port of Napier.

    Labour Yesterday have announced they vow to spend $20 Million to boost wood products at a wood mill (Prime Mill) in Gisborne (see article below in HB Today 18/2/17) which will export the products through the port of Napier so we need the rail repaired as already 20 companies want rail restored to use to move their products to export and industry of production.

    The road (Highway 2) will never be able to handle the increasing truck traffic and is becoming very dangerous to travel on now as it is.

    Tourism is suffering when rail would increase our tourism if Government spend the small amount of $4 to $6 million to reopen the rail service to Gisborne again.

    HBRC has agreed to fund the opening the rail for logs to Wairoa from Napier but Government should chip in and fix the damaged line all the way to Gisborne for the future security and economic well being of the region.

    Below is the labour party press release pledging $20 million to build a wood product plant in Gisborne and improve the infrastructure, so rail can service the plant with options for transport.

    A good plan labour has offered here says HBRC who believe it will help to make the rail services viable again, and we believe that will provide job security and better transport options for the future if Government fix the rail line and re-open the services.

    Thank you in anticipation of coverage for our East Coast Region rail services restoration project.
    Labour plan could benefit Hawke’s Bay
    By Nicki Harper

    7:00 AM Saturday Feb 18, 2017 Add a comment

    Labour’s pledge to inject up to $20 million into a Gisborne plant would have spin-offs for Hawke’s Bay, but needs both rail and road transport options between Gisborne and the Napier Port.

    Labour’s pledge to inject up to $20 million to support the construction of a timber pre-fabrication plant in Gisborne would have spin-off benefits for Hawke’s Bay, but to work needs both rail and road transport options between Gisborne and the Napier Port, says Hawke’s Bay regional councillor Alan Dick.

    Labour leader Andrew Little announced yesterday that if elected a Labour-led government would provide a stimulus package up to $20 million to enable the construction of a timber prefabrication plant and associated infrastructure in Gisborne.

    “One of the biggest strengths of the Gisborne region’s economy is timber, yet too many logs are being shipped straight offshore without jobs and value being created for locals.

    “This money will match dollar for dollar investment from businesses and local economic development agencies, and be subject to a robust and transparent tender process.”

    He said the funding could be used for construction of the plant, investment in necessary infrastructure upgrades to support it, or supporting sawmilling technology to help provide the lumber.

    The new factory would complement the existing Wood Engineering Technology plant being constructed on the Prime Sawmill site.

    “Our plan also elevates Gisborne’s industry and talent-base into a key role for building of new homes. The housing shortage in New Zealand is growing by 16,000 homes each year and the Government has no plan to deal with the housing crisis.

    “By bolstering an already growing prefabrication industry, we can boost the industry’s ability to build houses at affordable prices.”

    Mr Dick is a member of the regional council’s corporate and strategic committee, and said both the Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay districts could certainly benefit from added value of timber and processing crops but there was a need for suitable transport infrastructure.

    “State Highway 2 is a difficult road already – it’s become congested with logging trucks and it will get worse even with rail picking up a good part of the task starting later this year.

    “For something like this to work, and I’m sure it can, Gisborne district needs dual transport both to support and complement each other and provide price competition.

    “There’s huge potential for Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay, because for export purposes the Port of Napier is the prime and logical destination.”

    To date a deal between KiwiRail and the Port of Napier had been reached, underwritten by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, for when the Wairoa log harvest starts coming on stream this year.

    This would see KiwiRail cart logs from Wairoa to the Port of Napier, initially with four trains each weekend, progressing to a daily service, Mr Dick said.

    “This gets the rail line operating again – it’s in good condition up to the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council boundary north of Nuhaka, but Gisborne is left on a limb because of the 2012 washouts.

    “They need to be fixed and there are moves underway from the Gisborne end to encourage that to happen.”

    Last week the Gisborne Rail Co-operative made a presentation to the council’s corporate and strategic committee seeking support to approach KiwiRail to re-open the Gisborne end of the Napier-Gisborne line for freight, as well as tourism services.

    Committee chairman Neil Kirton said if the group could get a commitment from the Gisborne District Council to put some money towards developing a business case then the regional council would also consider contributing some money.

    Labour’s Tukituki candidate Anna Lorck said working in partnership with regional industry and getting behind local aspirations was a way to support business growth, opportunity and regional economic development.

    “With billions of logs being milled out of Hawke’s Bay over the coming years we must have confidence that our rail and roading infrastructure will manage and can get our logs to market – for New Zealand added value products and for export.

    “Hawke’s Bay has made great progress on standing up for the Gisborne/Napier rail line, despite the National Government being against it and wanting a cycle way instead. We’re all go now on the Napier to Wairoa section and this could well provide an even stronger case to get it opened all the way to Gisborne.”

    She added that the move would also support building more affordable housing in the region.

    “We need to build more houses to address the shortage and attract people to the region.”

    Napier Labour MP Stuart Nash said this was a first step in partnering with territorial authorities, who were driving such initiatives.

    “We did not go to Gisborne and say you want to build this, they came to us to ask for support – its being driven by them which is the only way economic development in the regions can be successful.

    “And this is what it’s all about – economic development and jobs, and we are helping enable that.”

    – Hawkes Bay Today

    By Nicki Harper

  2. A question for you @ CLEENGREEN…..
    You’re familiar with our KIWIRAIL CEO’s bullshit about effectively operating ‘two networks’ (or whatever the terminology used) – the reason that it’s no longer Knomuk to operate the electrified main trunk.
    Given that I’ve recently seen disparate rail networks in the 3rd world (such as standard guage to narrow guage) operate fishintly and fektivly, and that it’s not beyond the realms of intelligent engineering people to provide conversion techniques (currenly Hamilton and Palmerston North), do you also call BULLSHIT? Because I do!

    • yes to it all Tim,

      The corrupt Oil companies are funding this anti rail bullshit as they don’t make a killing with rail, as rail use far less diesel per tonne per Km travelled than road does, nand look at the oil it takes to make 32 tyres on one truck verses none used on any train?????

      Oil Companies cream it so it’s just trucks they want, – plenty of trucks.

      Rail in narrow gauge is fine as we need to keep regional rail at a class or three as many areas rail and road traverse have very tight corners, (more with roads).

      Stu Dow our rail engineer says he worked the regional rail in NZ for all companies since 1980 and never had issue with the guage.

      Stu drives coal trains in NSW now and would love to join running the Gisborne rail again as we do.

  3. Just another question for @ CLEENGREEN
    Are you familiar with any railway systems that have basic flatbed rolling stock and platforms that allow long distance trucking to “roll on and roll off” (as opposed to burdening the national highways with ‘road trains’ that are difficult to pass and that are susceptible to their drivers – usually owner-drivers – only being able to break even by flouting speed limits and rest periods).
    Then I’ll ask something else that seems to me to be bleeding obvious (as regards the differ

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