Maori Party’s IwiRail could bring trains back
The Maori Party want to build a new ‘‘IwiRail’’ railway network for both freight and tourism in New Zealand’s regions - starting with Gisborne.
The party’s co-leaders announced the policy at Parliament on Wednesday morning.
It would initially consist of a revitalised rail network around Gisborne, which currently has no direct rail connections after the line to Napier was mothballed in 2012.
The network would support both tourism and freight.
‘‘IwiRail would take over the leases or key regional lines, and work with local communities and Iwi to build new rail infrastruc- ture which is able to compete effectively and efficiently against other transport modes,’’ co-leader Marama Fox said.
The network would be developed as a public-privatepartnership, with the Government contributing an initial $350m and iwis and local businesses stumping up more capital.
Fox said connecting Gisborne back to Napier would only cost about $6.5 million.
The rest of the $350 million could go towards exploring other regions and possibly new lines.
Labour transport spokeswoman Sue Moroney said Labour supported rail development in the regions but doubted the Maori Party would be able to convince National to invest.
Marama Fox said the Maori party want to build a new IwiRail network across the country.