Wellington Scoop

Helene Ritchie says government should pay for all new trains

Media release from Helene Ritchie
Former Wellington City Councillor Helene Ritchie is calling for the Government to permanently fund all new trains in the Wellington Region.

“This would relieve ratepayers of considerable future cost for essential transport improvements including bus improvements. Without such relief, rates will skyrocket way beyond anything feasible.”

Ritchie, adding to comments by her former colleague Councillor Foster, is also maintaining that new funding tools and funds, would be needed to fund Let’s Get Wellington Moving (which does not even cover the cost of the proposal for new trains).

“The Regional Council itself just last week announced it is seeking Government funding for future new long distance trains costing $415 million.

“This cap-in-hand approach (forced on it by legislative change long ago) cannot continue.

“Rail and electrified rail is crucial to Wellington City’s economy, let alone to the personal and environmental, climate crisis benefit that accrues from transporting people and freight by rail. But there is no way that the region’s ratepayers, (with costs disproportionately falling on Wellington ratepayers), can fund rail (and on top of projects proposed in Lets Get Wellington Moving).

” I want central Government to return to funding fast, efficient (preferably electric bullet) trains nationwide, and owning the trains. (Government used own operate, build the trains in workshops providing skills, jobs and apprenticeships in a range of areas).

“With rail funded by Government, the City and Regional Council would be freed up to focus on the very real challenge of funding priority transport proposals in Lets Get Wellington Moving. Even then, new funding tools for this will likely have to be found, or items dropped off. There simply is no money tree that grows in ratepayers’ gardens.”

Former Wellington City Councillor Helene Ritchie is a candidate for the Regional Council.